Government to spend Rs. 40 billion to import fertilizer

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Government will need to spend Rs. 40 billion to import fertilizer based on the current world market prices.

The Agriculture Ministry said that the government will need to spend an additional amount of five billion rupees to provide fertilizer subsidies to farmers around the country for their paddy cultivation during the ‘Maha’ season as the price of a metric tonne of urea fertilizer exceeds $ 380 in the world market.

The Ministry said that it had spent a total of Rs. 35 billion to import fertilizer to Sri Lanka however with the current price hike in the world market the country would have to spend Rs. 40 billion in future.

However, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has instructed the National Fertilizer Secretariat to take steps to provide fertilizer at the old price despite the steady rise of the global price.

According to statistics with the National Fertilizer Secretariat, a total of 800,000 hectares of paddy lands will be cultivated during the ‘Maha’ season this year. This would require 265,000 metric tons of Urea, 65,000 metric tons Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and 75,000 metric tons of Muriate of Potash (MOP).

Accordingly, a 50 kilogram Urea fertilizer bag will be given to the paddy farmers for Rs. 500 and at a price of Rs 1500 for other crops. The government now purchases a 50 kilogram of urea fertilizer for a sum of Rs 3500 subsidizing Rs. 3000 for paddy cultivation and Rs. 2000 for other crops.