Monday, October 3, 2022

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 SL’s next generation agriculture begins with introducing 5 kg sachet packets of urea 

Inorganic fertiliser will be available for purchase for Sri Lanka’s farmers from the upcoming yala season allowing local companies to resume imports, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage disclosed.

Turning 369 degrees from his previous arrogant stance he noted that the government itself did not support the president’s vision for a green agriculture and that the farmers’ complaints and outcries for fertiliser were fair and justifiable.

Farmers willing to follow the green agriculture programme will be provided organic fertiliser and pesticides, the minister said at a meeting held at the Agriculture Department on Thursday (13)

In the wake of severe fertiliser shortage an unknown company has stepped into supply urea fertiliser in sachet packets of five kilo grams each to farmers under the tag of “Dimo the next generation agriculture “at an unbearable price.

Normally farmers are used to purchasing 50 Kilogram bags of urea fertiliser and they had to satisfy with a five kilo gram sachet packets paying an exorbitant price of Rs 2000.

This has fixed the price of Rs 400 per a kilo gram of urea which is unbearable for farmers, social activists claimed.

Ten (10) companies have come forward to place orders to import chemical fertiliser for the upcoming Yala season, while the next organic fertiliser shipment from Qingdao Seawin has left China’s shores and is on its way to Sri Lanka, reliable informed sources said.

Even before the gazette was revoked on 30 November 2021, the Minister of Plantation had obtained Cabinet approval to order 98,000 MT of Ammonium Sulphate, of which only 30,000 MT has been imported so far.  

Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Ajantha de Silva said orders for nitrogen in the range of 500 kg, potassium chloride in the range of 60 kg, and phosphorus in the range of 50 kg has been requested.

The Government hopes to import fertiliser in February in preparation for the Yala season, which begins in March. Also, because the price of urea is currently high, the Government intends to ‘wait’ for the price to fall, according to sources..

Meanwhile, Senior Professor – Weed Science OF Peradeniya University, Prof. Buddhi Marambe, predicted that unless the Government is to provide some incentives, even if fertiliser is imported, the higher in-country prices would affect agricultural production and increase the cost of food for consumers.     

“The world market prices of fertiliser are exorbitantly high at the moment. For example, one metric tonne of urea where the normal market price was ranging between US$ 300-400, is now US$ 1,000-1,200.

As for fertiliser imports and prices, the Ceylon Fertiliser Company and Colombo Commercial Fertiliser were allowed to import fertilisers for paddy cultivation and they were given free of charge to paddy farmers.

For other crop production, the private sector was allowed to import fertiliser on a quota system approved by the NFS, and the subsidised selling price was Rs 1,500 per 50 kg pack.  

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