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UNCTAD and WFP to provide free fertiliser to Sri Lankan farmers

July 02, Colombo (LNW): Under the guidance of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) will supply 55,000 metric tonnes of Muriate of Potash (MOP) fertiliser to Sri Lankan farmers at no cost, announced Agriculture and Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

This allocation of fertiliser is designated for paddy cultivation over the next two cropping seasons. The Government of Sri Lanka will receive this fertiliser through the WFP initiative.

Minister Amaraweera highlighted this development during a discussion on the National Fertiliser Programme held at the Agriculture and Plantation Industries Ministry on the 1st of July.

He noted that the absence of MOP fertiliser, crucial for paddy cultivation, leads to yellowing of crops and stunted growth of panicles.

It has been observed that many farmers do not utilise MOP fertiliser, with only 400 metric tonnes sold during the current Yala season.

Previously priced at Rs. 14,000, the cost of MOP fertiliser has been reduced to Rs. 9,000 by government-owned fertiliser companies since the last Maha season, following the Minister’s directive.

However, the distribution of this fertiliser is estimated to incur costs of Rs. 3.5 billion, covering VAT and operational expenses.

Specifically, Rs. 1.1 billion is allocated for utility costs and Rs. 2.4 billion for VAT.

Minister Amaraweera confirmed that Cabinet approval has been secured to cover these expenses.

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