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Arrears owed to fertiliser importers to be settled

16 Dec 2021

  • Yala fertiliser imports affected due to lack of funding 
BY Buddhika Samaraweera Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage is to hold discussions with the Finance Ministry to facilitate the settlement of a portion of arrears payments owed by the general Treasury to fertiliser importers, before 5 January 2022, as fertiliser imports targeting the Yala cultivation season have been affected due to the lack of funding. According to the Agriculture Ministry, a discussion was held at the Agriculture Ministry yesterday (16) to discuss the issues faced by fertiliser importers and local fertiliser manufacturers. During the discussion, the fertiliser importers have pointed out to Aluthgamage that the ordering of fertilisers has been hampered due to the inability to obtain a large amount of money due from the Treasury. Accordingly, Aluthgamage has stated that he would discuss the matter with the Finance Ministry and take steps to settle a portion of the arrears payments to fertiliser importers before 5 January 2022. Furthermore, the Agriculture Ministry stated that the fertiliser importers and local manufacturers have agreed to supply the fertilisers needed for the upcoming Yala cultivating season without any shortage. In addition, the fertiliser importers have expressed their consent to import the fertilisers recommended by the Government and to sell such in the open market. “The fertiliser importers stated that they expect to complete the imports between January and March and also agreed to distribute the stocks of fertiliser in the warehouses through Agrarian Service Centres to vegetable growers,” a statement from the Ministry read. 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, the Government last month decided to revoke the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2226/48 of 6 May 2021, banning the importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals including pesticides, fungicides, and weedicides/herbicides, and to allow the private sector to import such. However, throughout the past few months, farmers in several areas were seen charging that there is a serious shortage of fertiliser for their cultivations and a number of protests have also been organised by farmers’ organisations and various parties demanding that the Government provide a solution to the fertiliser shortage.

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