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Still no fertiliser in several areas

13 Dec 2021

By Buddhika Samaraweera Farmers in several areas are still facing difficulties due to the shortage of fertilisers, in a background where the ban on the importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals including pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides/weedicides has been lifted by the Government. Farmers of the Polonnaruwa Minneriya Agrarian Colony Movement charged that they have not yet received any fertilisers for the Maha cultivating season. As a result, farmers in the Hingurakgoda, Batukotuwa, and Yoda Ela areas belonging to the Minneriya Agrarian Colony have been severely inconvenienced. Speaking to the media, farmers in the area said: “Currently the water in farmlands is being wasted. We have been promised fertilisers on a number of occasions, but so far we have not received any organic or chemical fertilisers. Therefore, our cultivation is in a precarious condition.” Meanwhile, farmers in the Kotagama, Bibila, and Ampara areas have claimed that about 500 acres of maize and paddy fields in the said areas have been abandoned due to lack of fertilisers. Farmers in the area said that about a month had passed since the start of the Maha cultivating season, but no fertilisers have been provided to them. Also, farmers in the Maha Bulankulama area in Anuradhapura have charged that the cultivation of maize using organic fertilisers has failed. The farmer said: “Currently, both organic and liquid fertilisers have been applied to maize cultivation, but the harvest has become very small in size.” They also pointed out that seeds imported from other countries should be given suitable fertilisers and that successful yields could not be obtained by applying organic fertilisers to them. A proposal to ban the use and importation of chemical fertiliser, pesticides, and herbicides/weedicides was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the same was granted approval, following which the relevant gazette notification was issued on 6 May 2021. However, throughout the past few months, farmers in several areas were seen charging that there is a serious shortage of fertilisers for their cultivations and a number of protests have also been organised by farmers’ organisations and various parties demanding the Government to provide a solution to the fertiliser shortage. Against this backdrop, the Government decided to revoke Extraordinary Gazette No. 2226/48 of 6 May 2021, which banned the importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals, and to thereby allow the private sector to import the same, with effect from 24 November. Accordingly, an Extraordinary Gazette notification was issued last week, allowing the importation of organic and inorganic compounds, and phosphorous derivatives of fertilisers.

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