Russia-Ukraine conflict: Uncertainty over SL fertiliser imports


  • Tenders for 38,000 MT of potash next week
  • High demand pushes prices higher


By Asiri Fernando

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has further complicated Sri Lanka’s plans to import 38,000 Metric Tons (MT) of potassium chlorate (KCL)-based fertiliser for the next cultivation season, The Sunday Morning learns.

According to State Fertiliser Ministry Additional Secretary Mahesh Gammanpila, the procurement process for the KCL-based muriate of potash fertiliser will be finalised by the end of the month, with a tender due to be floated this week.

Gammanpila told The Sunday Morning that many fertiliser importers were concerned about the conflict situation between Russia and Ukraine. This follows several shipping conglomerates pulling out of servicing some of the Russian ports and possibility of a range of sanctions being levelled against Russia and Belarus, another country that exports potash.

“The market was already a difficult one after China halted export of chemical fertilisers. Now there is a lot of competition to buy the available stocks and this is driving up prices. Sri Lanka is now facing the added complexity, the dollar shortage, and the question of what impact the conflict will have on our importers,” Gammanpila opined, adding that it was too early to predict the outcome.

He said that importers and the Government would have a better understanding of the situation by the end of the month. His views were echoed by Agriculture State Ministry Secretary Nihal Ranasinghe.

Ranasighe pointed out that importers of the fertiliser had several supply chains and held stocks in several countries, which may be able to service the mineral potash supply (38,000 MT) that Sri Lanka needed. 

Last week, the Government expressed concern about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on key exports such as tea and the cost of vital imports such as oil and fuel, amidst a local forex shortage.

Attempts by The Sunday Morning to contact the Minister of Agriculture and the State Minister in charge of fertiliser failed.