Fertiliser shortage: $ 500 m needed for Maha season
- $ 220 m for paddy fertiliser; $ 10 m for seeds
- $ 15 m of weedicides and pesticides needed
- No fertiliser imports for Yala apart from urea
By Skandha Gunasekara
The Government will need to spend close to $ 500 million on a range of essential products, including fertiliser, to support the agriculture sector in the upcoming Maha season, The Sunday Morning learns.
National Fertiliser Secretariat Director General Mahesh Gammanpila revealed that $ 445 million would be needed to import fertiliser, weedicides, pesticides, and seeds.
“Paddy fertiliser will cost $ 220 million, while fertiliser for other crops will cost around $ 200 million. We have urged the Government to make arrangements to facilitate the dollars needed for these purchases. Additionally, we have proposed to bring down $ 15 million worth of weedicides, pesticides, and specialty fertiliser and another $ 10 million for special seeds, including maize.”
He said Cabinet approval would be sought to import 231,000 MT of various types of fertilisers for paddy farming.
“We will be submitting a paper to the Cabinet for approval to bring down 150,000 MT of urea, 45,000 MT of MOP fertiliser, and 36,000 MT of TSP fertiliser for the Maha season for paddy farming,” he said, adding that another Cabinet paper would be submitted to get approval for the importation of 292,000 MT of fertiliser for other types of crops.
He added that it had been recommended to bring down some organic fertiliser as well, to reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser imports needed in case a world market fertiliser shortage resulted in delayed imports.
“Due to the sanctions on Russia, we have proposed that some sort of organic fertiliser that is already certified by an international accredited organisation or which bears the SLS mark be brought down in case there is an inability to bring down chemical fertiliser in a timely manner. This will be purchased on the recommendation of the Director General of Agriculture.”
He added that apart from the 65,000 MT of urea, no additional fertiliser would be imported for the Yala season.
All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation National Convener Namal Karunaratne affirmed that three different types of fertiliser would be needed for the agricultural sector and charged that the Government would not be able to bring down the adequate quantities.
“We will need urea, MOP, and TSP fertilisers. In addition we will need weedicides and pesticides. But it seems the Government will not be able to bring down any of this as it does not have the dollars. By the time it may find dollars, it might be too late.”
He said the Government was talking about importing fertiliser for the Maha season because it had failed to import it for the ongoing Yala season.
“The Government is trying to divert attention from Yala to Maha because it has given up on Yala altogether,” Karunaratne alleged.