Release stocks now, Goverment orders fertiliser firms
One week’s ultimatum to hoarding companies: Aluthgamage
Recovered stocks to be sent to Agrarian Services Centres
District-level requirements identified
By Buddhika Samarweera
In the wake of the Agriculture Ministry receiving information that fertiliser companies are in the possession of 102,000 metric tonnes (MT) of fertiliser, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that instructions have been given to release the said stocks to the Agrarian Service Centres within a week.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday (6), he said that by releasing the relevant stocks of fertiliser to the Agrarian Service Centres, farmers in all parts of the country will be able to obtain fertiliser within the next four months, without any shortage.
“Fertiliser companies said in the past that they did not have stocks of fertiliser. The Fertiliser Secretariat also stated that there was a shortage of fertiliser. Due to these reasons, farmers did not receive fertiliser on time,” he noted
He added that a discussion was held recently with the participation of all the relevant officials where it was revealed that the fertiliser companies currently have around 102,000 MT of fertiliser.
Revealing the amounts of fertiliser that each company is found to be in possession of, Aluthgamage said that three leading companies have 28,000 MT, 21,000 MT, and 8,000 MT.
“Accordingly, we have instructed the relevant companies to issue the stocks of fertiliser to the Agrarian Service Centres, within one week.”
He further explained that the amount of fertiliser required for each district has also been identified as of now. According to him, vegetable farmers in the Badulla District need 5,100 MT of fertiliser while potato farmers need 2,200 MT. In addition, vegetable farmers in the Nuwara Eliya District need 1,900 MT of fertiliser while potato farmers need 3,200 MT.
Claiming that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) were providing political leadership to the protests that were held in several areas demanding solutions to the fertiliser shortage, Aluthgamage said that all documents with regard to the aforesaid matters would be handed over to the Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa, JVP Leader and Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake, and all other political party leaders, and that the same would be tabled in Parliament.
“Companies had every kind of fertiliser that is needed by the farmers to grow potatoes, vegetables, bananas, cinnamon, and tea, but the Fertiliser Secretariat too was not interested in providing fertiliser to the farmers. Accordingly, a special mechanism headed by Paddy and Grain, Organic Food, Vegetables, Fruits, Chillies, Onion, and Potato Cultivation Promotion, Seed Production, and Advanced Technology Agriculture State Minister Shasheendra Rajapaksa to provide all fertilisers to farmers without any shortage within the next four months, was prepared,” he added.
In the recent past, farmers in several parts of the country have been staging protests demanding a solution to the fertiliser shortage.
A proposal to ban the use and importation of chemical fertiliser, pesticides, and herbicides/weedicides was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in April 2021 and it was granted approval, following which the relevant gazette notification was issued.