Focus/Spotlight

Sunny Side Up: President calls Sajith

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week called Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa to discuss the continuous concerns raised by the Opposition over the Government’s policy to convert to organic agriculture by banning all forms of chemical fertiliser.

The President inquired from Premadasa about the reasons for the main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), opposing the move towards organic agriculture.

Premadasa had responded saying that he was supportive of the move towards organic agriculture but was concerned over the statistics he received from the Ministry of Agriculture on the availability of fertiliser and its impact on harvests.

The President had noted that he was hopeful that the Opposition would also support the move towards organic agriculture, as the benefits of such a policy would have a great impact on the country’s future.

“Do you not agree that we need to stop feeding poison to our people? Will this move not have a positive impact on the people?” Rajapaksa had questioned, adding that he was under the impression Premadasa supported the move.

However, while Premadasa had expressed his support for the policy, he reiterated that the statistics of the Agriculture Ministry painted a different picture.

The President had then inquired from the Agriculture Ministry about the statistics Premadasa had referred to. Officials at the Agriculture Ministry said they were unaware of the statistics the Opposition Leader was talking about.

Rajapaksa had again called the Opposition Leader and said the Agriculture Ministry was not aware of the statistics Premadasa was referring to.

However, several members of the SJB, including party General Secretary MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara, last week filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition before the Supreme Court against the fertiliser issue.