News

Rejected fertiliser controversy: Agriculture Ministry to seek AG’s advice

 

  • State authorities steadfast on NPQS standards
  • Chinese suppliers seek $ 8 m in damages
  • Fertiliser ship anchored offshore, won’t be allowed to unload: Agri DG

By Yoshitha Perera

The Ministry of Agriculture is planning to obtain the Attorney General’s (AG) advice regarding the letter of demand issued by Chinese fertiliser company Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd., The Sunday Morning learnt. 

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Agriculture Director General Dr. Ajantha de Silva said that the Ministry is planning to get the AG’s advice on the matter, and added that the Chinese organic fertiliser samples would not be retested.

“We have not directed that third-party testing be done for this fertiliser. We are satisfied with the tests carried out by the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS),” Dr. de Silva said. 

He further said that the MV Hippo Spirit, the vessel carrying the rejected Chinese organic fertiliser and currently anchored in Sri Lankan waters, would not be allowed to unload.

Meanwhile, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd. recently directed a letter of demand to NPQS Additional Director Dr. W.A.R.T. Wickramarachchi through the company’s local lawyers, seeking $ 8 million in damages. 

In the letter of demand, the company warned NPQS that failure to pay the above-mentioned sum in three days would result in legal action being taken against it. 

The letter of demand follows the samples sent by Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd. failing to meet the quarantine standards test of the NPQS. The Chinese company had disputed the results calling for a third-party test.

However, Dr. de Silva said that the results of the two sample tests conducted by the Sri Lanka Standard Institute (SLSI) as well as the NPQS and Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board, observed harmful bacteria in this fertiliser.

A delegation of Chinese diplomats met Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage last week to discuss the matter.

Several attempts to contact local lawyers representing the Chinese fertiliser company proved futile.