Farmers across Sri Lanka rise in Protest

Farmers across Sri Lanka rise in Protest

Farmers across Sri Lanka rise in Protest

Written by Zulfick Farzan

07 Oct, 2021 | 1:25 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Farmers across many areas in Sri Lanka have started to protest demanding fertilizer be released to continue their cultivations.

Over in Anuradhapura, 15 agriculture bodies state a protest on Thursday (7) demanding water be released for their cultivations and also the release of chemical fertilizer.

These farmers claim there isn’t sufficient time for them to move to organic fertilizer as the Maha Season is to commence later this month.

At the same time, farmers in Elahera also protested demanding a solution to the fertilizer issue.

For months, Farmers across many areas in Sri Lanka have been protesting against the shortage of fertilizer in the country.

The ban on chemical fertilisers — widely used in the tea and rice industries — was opposed by farmers who staged protests after reporting failing vegetable crops as existing stocks began to run out within weeks.

The promulgated regulation restricting and banning the import of fertilizers and agrochemicals is leading to widespread concern among Sri Lanka’s farmer community, industry associations, practitioners, and agricultural professionals.

The Sri Lankan Government has also decided only to use organic fertilizer in the country and plans on importing organic fertilizer from overseas.

Sri Lankan soil scientists, however, are raising concerns on the negative impact that organic fertilizer imports could have on the country’s agricultural area, especially the samples that tested for harmful bacteria.

On the 5th of October 2021, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Parliament that laboratory tests have confirmed that the Organic Fertilizer samples sent from India, are suitable to be used in the country.

He said National Plant Quarantine Service had given the green light for the Indian fertilizer.

The Minister said discussions are underway to import nano-nitrogen fertilizer from India and if there is a delay, a decision has been reached to import the fertilizer using aircraft.

He said previous samples from China had tested positive for the presence of the Erwinia Bacteria, which is harmful to certain cultivations in the country.

The Agriculture Minister assured that the suspension of Chinese Organic Fertilizer will not impact the harvesting seasons in the country.

He said on the 12th of October the necessary fertilizer will be released for the Maha Season cultivation.

Responding to a question in Parliament, the Minister said the government will never import fertilizer that is harmful to humans, animals, and plants and will only import fertilizer that meets the standards imposed by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI).

He reprimanded the former administration for its improper imports of fertilizer to the country, forcing the present administration to suspend chemical fertilizer imports.

He told Parliament that samples are tested at four local laboratories and one international laboratory and assured that fertilizer that is harmful will never be imported.

On the 3rd of October 2021, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister said that Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., a Chinese Organic Fertilizer Company, will be sending a fresh batch of fertilizer to Sri Lanka after a harmful pathogen was detected in samples.

‘The Chinese firm admitted their mistake and have assured us that they will rectify it,’ said Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

On September 29th, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage announced the suspension of organic fertilizer imports from China.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, this decision was reached after laboratory tests revealed the presence of harmful bacteria in the organic fertilizer samples.

Harmful Bacteria was detected in a fresh sample of Chinese Organic Fertilizer, said the Director-General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha De Silva on 28th September.

He told News 1st that samples from a Chinese company tested by authorities once again proved the presence of bacteria and he maintains the position to NOT allow any organic fertilizer from the particular supplier to be imported to the country.

This supplier was revealed as Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.

On the 17th of September Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture confirmed for the first time that a microorganism identified as ‘Erwinia’ was discovered in samples brought down ‘unofficially’ to Sri Lanka and tested.

The supplier was the same, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.

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