At a time where where the country is moving towards a severe food shortage as a result of fertiliser shortage following the sudden ban on chemical fertiliser imports, government is now planning to import organic fertiliser on a hasty direction of the President.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed the officials to import the required quantity of organic fertiliser of the highest quality if they are not satisfied with the quantity of fertiliser produced.
The President gave these instructions during a special discussion with officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and organic fertiliser producers at the Presidential Secretariat recently.
The importation of organic fertiliser at this juncture will exert pressure on the country’s foreign reserves as Sri Lanka will incur massive cost of at least US $ 180 million to meet the the requirement for maha season only. The cost for chemical fertiliser is the region of $ 100 -$150 million and this is a saving of $ 30 -$80 million., financial analysts said.
Sri Lanka spent U. S. $ 221 million in 2019 to import chemical fertiliser and this amount is expected to rise between US $ 300 – 400 million fot two seasons with the price hike of crude oil, said the President's Media Division.
The import of chemical fertiliser by Sri Lanka amounted to 1,.26 metric tons per year. Of this 383, 000 metric tons were for paddy cultivation and e remaining 877,053 metric tons for other crops.
It is difficult to import high quality organic fertiliser with in days due to procedural requirements under a very strict international quarantine regime.
Sri Lanka will have to look for China to import organic fertiliser failing which it had to place orders with companies in Vietnam, Thailand or the Netherlands.
The prices of rice and vegetables will be increased in unbearable promotions and consumers of poor and middle segments of the society will have to stave due to the failure of the government to provide fertiliser and pesticides on time.
Namal Karunaratne, National Organiser of the All Ceylon Agrarian Federation said that framers countrywide are now cursing and urging divine powers to punsh the rulers without considering repercussions.
Promoting Organic fertiliser and banning importation of fertiliser without properly analysing and studying after effects and repercussions as well as social and economic issues etc has pushed the people into fire from the prying pan, he said.
He noted that the price of rice in the will be doubled very soon and farmers will intensify their protests as their paddy filds have become barren.
Without phasing out the implementation of organic fertiliser programme, the government has suddenly ban the chemical fertiliser imports