FSP alleges new law to import ‘any’ fertiliser

Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda claimed on 27 January that the Government is attempting to introduce a new piece of legislation which will allow for the import of any fertiliser to the country without having to undergo the due quality control checks.

“There is a specific standard for fertiliser that is imported into Sri Lanka. But we have learnt that the authorities are attempting to pass a new law for new standards for compost or any fertiliser that is to be imported into the country. This will allow the imports to forgo an investigation into whether foreign substances are present in the fertiliser or to quarantine such,” Jayagoda alleged. He made these remarks during the “Colombo to Galle Jana Pelagasma” programme organised by the FSP.

He warned that the introduction of this new statute will therefore pose threats to the environment and the agriculture of Sri Lanka, and to the health of the public.

Agriculture Ministry Secretary D.M.L. Bandaranayake was not available for comment.

Last week, the Cabinet of Ministers had approved the payment of compensation of Rs. 25 per kilogramme of paddy to paddy farmers whose cultivations have been damaged due to the fertiliser shortage caused by the Government’s programme towards establishing organic agriculture. However, this compensation will not be paid for vegetables or maize farmers.

In a controversial move, Sri Lanka recently rejected the acceptance of a shipment of fertiliser from China-based Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd., worth more than Rs. 1 billion that was procured through a tender process initiated by the Agriculture Ministry. The National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) told the court proceedings that followed about the said shipment, that they had confirmed the presence of organisms, including certain types of harmful bacteria, in the samples that were sent to them for testing. However, Sri Lanka, despite having rejected the fertiliser shipment, has had to pay a certain amount to the said company owing to the nature of the agreement involved.