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Farmers complain: Seeds, fertiliser shortage

By Agra Ranasinghe

Farmers in certain areas have been continuously complaining about the shortage of seeds and fertiliser required for cultivation as they are facing various issues in that regard including illegal rackets, even during this trying period.

All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Convener Namal Karunaratne told The Morning that farmers in areas such as Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Badulla are having to deal with many illegal rackets in the agricultural field where seeds and fertiliser, which can be bought at a reasonable price, are sold to them at higher prices.

“There is a big shortage of seeds. There are rackets that take hybrid seeds and sell them as traditional seeds; most fertilisers are diluted; the seedling percentage of some seeds is low; outdated, substandard seeds are circulating in the market; the Government buys 1 kg of seeds for Rs. 9,000 and they sell it for Rs. 14,000. And some of these seeds cannot be used to cultivate. If this continues further, farmers will be in a critical situation as they have to overcome a possible food shortage,” said Karunaratne.

However, Ministry of Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation, and Rural Development Secretary Neel Bandara Hapuhinna said that as there’s severe demand for seeds currently, they will respond to the issue within a very short time.

“There’s a severe demand for the seeds and fertilisers. As the Ministry, we don’t have seeds stocked in bulk.
“Under some circumstances, we are not in a position to import seeds such as that of onions.

“Anyway, our target was to establish one million home gardens and we have successfully exceeded it. We request the farmers to cultivate as best they can. All these are the consequence of Covid-19 and within three or four weeks, we will be able to respond to it,” said the Secretary.