Business

Fertiliser under concessionary scheme for tea growers

  • 40 kg of fertiliser to be given per 100 kg of tea leaves
  • Ramesh Pathirana claims prices to stabilise by Feb.

 

 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Ministry of Plantation has taken steps to provide fertiliser to tea growers under a concessionary scheme as traders are currently selling fertiliser at high prices, according to the Ministry.

Speaking during a discussion held at the Ministry yesterday (27), Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said the crisis situation which arose with the ban on the importation of chemical fertilisers has now eased to a certain extent, but that the market price of fertiliser has risen to an unbearable level.

“Therefore, considering the requests received from various quarters to provide fertiliser under a concessionary scheme, the Government has decided to provide 40 kilos (kg) of fertiliser for every 100 kg of tea leaves,” he said.

“We have received the ordered chemical fertilisers, but the traders are selling the fertilisers at their own prices. However, by February next year, the fertiliser crisis will be completely resolved and the prices of fertilisers will come down. Till then, the people should be given some relief. That is what we as the Ministry are now intervening for,” he added.

Claiming that the average yield of an acre of tea in Sri Lanka is 200-300 kg of tea leaves, Dr. Pathirana, however, said that about 700-800 kg of tea leaves can be harvested from an acre of tea by adding organic components to the soil along with chemical fertilisers. He added: “There has been a clear misuse of chemical fertilisers in our country. Tea yield does not increase due to the over-application of chemical fertilisers. In order to get higher yields, organic components should be added to the soil along with chemical fertilisers.”

A proposal to ban the use and importation of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals, including pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides/weedicides, was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last April and the same was granted approval, following which the relevant gazette notification was issued on 6 May 2021. However, 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.