Written by Lahiru Fernando
10 Dec, 2017 | 11:12 pm
Farmers suffered in the recent past with a severe drought which deeply affected farmlands with the lack of water.
However, with the recent downpours, the tanks are having sufficient water and the farmlands are recovering.
The farmers and the people of Sri Lanka finally had hope after five long failed seasons of harvest
But, the light at the end of the tunnel, is still too far away.
Why? – There is a shortage of fertilizer.
“There is no point in the Government issuing fertilizer whenever they want. If you are raising a child, you must feed the child on time. The same applies to farming.”
“Leaders of the country, open your eyes. Don’t worry about power, the Government and the Pradeshiya Sabhas. Work for the farmers.”
“They said the ship would arrive in Sri Lanka by the 6th and the fertilizer will be distributed. If it takes another 10 days then the fertilizer will only arrive in Ampara after the 20th or the 25th.”
All Ceylon Peasants Federation says the government is calling for tenders to bring down fertilizer, “only now”.
“And this tender is riddled with irregularities. This is where they get there commission. The private sector and the government have failed to ensure that there is enough fertilizer.” – Namal Karunaratne (National Organizer – All Ceylon Peasants Federation)
Who will accept the responsibility?
The All Ceylon Peasants Federation has also pointed out how the Ministry of Agriculture is paying Rs. 24.5 million (a month) for an empty building.
“but they haven’t been able to give the farmers the fertilizer they need.”
Is there a real shortage?
News 1st invited the Chairmans of two state owned enterprises which are responsible for fertilizer distribution (Lakpohora & Colombo Commercial Fertilizers) to our News 1st Centre in Colombo.
According to the Chairman of Lakpohora -Roshana Waduge-, there is no shortage as described.
He stated that a team of 52 which visited the Anuradhapura district during the first week of December “did not encounter a fertilizer shortage”.
“As the two state owned fertilizer companies, we have about 10,000 tons of uria and if you count other varieties of fertilizer we have a cumulative total of about 25,000 tons.” he added.
Roshana Waduge also assured that if there is a shortage of any kind, they will intervene.
So, what are these remarks made by farmers?
Chairman of Colombo Commercial Fertilizers -Chaminda Liyanage- stated that when he himself made inquiries yesterday (December 9) from the four storage facilities belonging to CCF, they alone had 873 tons of uria.
Liyanage rejected the allegation of fertilizer not being distributed.
What of the farmers in Ampara who were turned away?
“Yes, but we have 125 tonnes that will be sent to Ampara tomorrow (December 11) and 250 tonnes that will be sent to Ampara together with Lakpohora.”
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