Sri Lanka Customs seizure of three 40 ft containers of organic fertiliser imported from Madurai, South India by an unregistered company without considering strict quarantine laws in the island, has created another controversy raising many questions.
The imported consignment consisting of three containers is listed in Customs Department documents as organic fertiliser products imported from Madurai, Tamil Nadu.
The classification number used to import the consignment is doubtful while the address of the importer is also suspicious, a senior Customs official said.
The Agriculture Department has not issued any license to import the stock of organic manure which is currently under investigations by Customs, a top official of the department told the Business Times
He added that they have not received any sample of the questionable manure stock for testing and under the Plant Quarantine Act no import license has been issued up to now.
According to Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, organic fertiliser stocks are being imported by 20 companies at present and there was no plan to import more in the future.
Of 27 licensed domestic organic fertiliser producers, 10 could supply sufficient stocks for 224,000 hectares, he added.
These questionable containers weighing 77,881.41 Kg imported by Taian Organic Fertilizer Pvt. Ltd, located at 333 1/16, Old Moor Street, Colombo 12 from a company in Tamil Nadu have arrived at the Colombo Harbour on June 2, Customs documents revealed. Custom officers have seized the three containers under the prevailing quarantine regulations and it is now lying at Gray line Yard – Orugodawatta, the Customs official said.
This incident took place the day after the decision taken by the Cabinet to import required carbonic fertiliser and natural mineral through the government owned fertiliser company for 500,000 hectares of paddy cultivation for 2021/2022 Maha Season.
It has specifically stipulated that the procurement should be carried out in accordance with the international competitive bidding process and distributing manure through the Department of Agrarian Services.
The President last month directed the officials to enhance organic manure production locally and if they are not pleased with the quantity of fertiliser produced, he asked them to import the appropriate quantity of high-quality organic fertiliser.
Under the Plant Protection Act of 1999, importing organic fertiliser is prohibited as it has micro organisms and various other fungi harmful for local use