Organic fertiliser: Local production top priority
Agrarian service centre farmers earmarked
Agri Ministry to provide financial assistance
Large-scale manufacturers to provide tech support
Imports not ruled out
By Yumiko Perera
The Government is to prioritise producing organic fertilisers instead of importation, The Sunday Morning learnt.
Speaking with The Sunday Morning, Production and Supply of Fertiliser and the Regulation of Chemical Fertiliser and Insecticide Use State Minister Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva said: “We already have small and medium-scale manufacturers who produce organic fertilisers locally. However, the amount of fertiliser that is locally produced does not suffice.”
While several programmes are already underway to expedite the production of organic fertilisers locally, De Silva added: “Many are protesting the importation of organic fertilisers and there seems to be a lot of scepticism surrounding the matter; however, we are planning on prioritising the production of organic fertilisers locally. The President has advised us to give priority to locally manufactured organic fertilisers, and measures are already underway to increase production locally.”
According to De Silva, there are 562 agrarian service centres across the island and the Government aims to make sure that at least five to six farmers in each of these agrarian service centres would be able to produce their organic fertilisers, and that they would also be provided with the necessary technical knowledge to carry out the process.
“Not only would the farmers be self-sufficient, but the Agriculture Ministry would also provide them with a sum to get the process kickstarted. Several farmers already produce organic fertilisers on a small scale, but they don’t have the necessary technical knowledge that is required. We are also looking at connecting these small-scale manufacturers with licensed, experienced manufacturers who would be able to provide the small-scale manufacturers with technical and technological assistance.”
Stating that several loan schemes have also been offered to the farmers in this regard, De Silva mentioned: “We are trying to get the large-scale local organic fertiliser manufacturers to purchase products from the small-scale manufacturers, and the Government is also focusing on purchasing through the two state-owned fertiliser companies, the Colombo Commercial Fertilisers Ltd. and the Ceylon Fertiliser Company Ltd.”
De Silva further reiterated that there would also be constant quality checks. Scientific research is also underway with regard to the production of organic fertilisers locally, he noted.
“We are focusing on locally producing organic fertilisers using good quality micro-organisms and we are encouraging small-scale manufacturers to do the same. Normally, in order to make compost, it takes nearly 20 or so days. With the technology of using micro-organisms, compost can be made within seven days. Research is being conducted in the Regional Agriculture Research and Development Centre in Makandura in this regard, so the process of manufacturing organic fertilisers locally could be expedited,” he further noted.
“However, even after putting in such an effort, if we don’t manage to manufacture the required amount of fertiliser locally, then we would have to ultimately opt for importation to fulfil the fertiliser requirement. We are therefore trying our very best to fulfil that requirement through local production,” De Silva emphasised.
Attempts made by The Sunday Morning to contact the Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, for more insight on the matter, proved futile.