Sri Lanka farmers continue protest over fertilizer shortage – #FarmerProtestSL

Sri Lanka farmers continue protest over fertilizer shortage – #FarmerProtestSL

Sri Lanka farmers continue protest over fertilizer shortage – #FarmerProtestSL

Written by Zulfick Farzan

21 Oct, 2021 | 2:06 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Farmers across many areas in Sri Lanka continue to protest against the shortage of fertilizer for cultivations.

On Thursday (21) protests were reported from Anuradhapura and Galkiriyagama.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In this backdrop, Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the President and the Agriculture Secretary has advised to secure a court order to suspend payments to the Chinese company that shipped organic fertilizer to Sri Lanka, which was rejected for containing harmful pathogens.

The State Ministry of Agriculture noted the necessary files were handed over to the Attorney General to pursue legal action as well.

99,000 Metric Tonnes of Organic Fertilizer was ordered from the Chinese Company, and recently 20,000 Metric Tonnes reaches Sri Lanka.

However, the State Ministry of Agriculture noted that as tests proved the said fertilizer was not suitable for Sri Lanka, the fertilizer was rejected.

Sri Lanka received the first consignment of 3.1 million litres high quality non-harmful Nano Nitrogen liquid fertiliser from India to help the island nation’s Eastern province in the cultivation of maize and paddy, on Wednesday (20).

The Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka stated that the arrival of the first consignment of fertilizers from India is yet another instance of the country’s resolve to stand with Sri Lanka in times of urgent need.

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