Certain fertilisers to be imported: Local organic fertiliser production continues

  • Chelated mineral, micronutrients, N/PO₄³⁻/K for fertiliser production 
  • Only plant nutrient-based fertiliser for soil enrichment to be imported: Agri Secy 
  • ‘Certain steps have to be taken to achieve organic objective’ 

BY Yumiko Perera 

Despite the recent controversy surrounding the move to import certain types of fertiliser in spite of the prevailing ban on the use and import of chemical fertiliser, the Agriculture Ministry stated that the local production of organic fertiliser was going ahead as planned, with a view to supplying the needed stocks for the upcoming Maha cultivation season starting in September.  

Following the recent proposal made by Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to import plant nutrients which include chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) mineral and micronutrients, regulations pertaining to the importation have been relaxed, The Sunday Morning learnt.  

However, in a recent statement to the press, the President’s Media Division (PMD) revealed that such imports would only be allowed through a special license programme.  

Accordingly, nitrogen (N) fertiliser, phosphate (PO₄³⁻) fertiliser, potassium (K) fertiliser, fertiliser containing such minerals, and chemical fertilisers that contain a combination of fertilising elements, would be allowed to be imported. 

These types of fertilisers had previously been banned from import, and would therefore have to be brought under the import control licence (ICL) henceforth, as per the relevant gazette notification pertaining to this matter, The Sunday Morning further learnt.  

Speaking with The Sunday Morning in this regard on Friday (6), Agriculture Ministry Secretary Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe-Mudalige said that only types of fertiliser that have been produced using plant nutrients would be allowed to be imported in this manner, as they are essential for the biological enrichment of the soil.  

Furthermore, reiterating that they would only allow the import of source matter that contains sufficient levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate, he further added that the ban imposed on toxic and harmful fertiliser would continue regardless.  

Speaking on the progress of the production of organic fertiliser locally, Prof. Jayasinghe-Mudalige further added: “The production of organic fertiliser locally is running as planned, and we are diligently monitoring it for the time being. Our plan is to make sure that there would be sufficient fertiliser for the upcoming Maha Season, and it would commence from 15 September onwards.” 

Meanwhile, The Sunday Morning learnt that according to President’s Principal Advisor Lalith Weeratunga, while this decision had been made based on scientific facts, the Government’s policy on the use of organic fertiliser would remain unchanged. 

He expressed these views at a media briefing held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) on Thursday (5), and further noted that there would be no change to the policy statement put forward by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with regard to completely converting to the use of organic fertiliser, and the ban on chemical fertiliser, which states that people have a right to consume food made without any toxic input. Weeratunga, however, noted that certain steps have to be taken in order to achieve that objective.