No fertilizer shortage for this Season - Minister | Daily News
Farmers against errant traders for hiding stocks:

No fertilizer shortage for this Season - Minister

The government is taking measures to provide the required fertilizer to farmers on time and there is no shortage of fertilizer in the market, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said.

“However, some traders are hiding fertilizer to create a shortage in the market so they could sell them at higher prices. Hence, the government has taken action to distribute fertilizer through the Agrarian Centres”, he told Parliament yesterday.

He said that the government does not intend to import chemical fertilizer to the country in future.

An Expert’s Committee has been appointed to look into the possibility of importing the required stocks of nitrogen liquid in the future and whether it would be harmful to the environment.

The Minister said that this matter had been discussed with the All Ceylon Farmers Federation and he said that none of the farmers had opposed the move to use only carbonic fertilizers. He noted that what the farmers are against is the actions of certain errant traders who are hiding fertiliser stocks in an attempt to create an artificial shortage so they could manipulate prices.

Minister Aluthgamage highlighting the consequences of using chemical fertilizers said that there are 65,000 kidney patients in the country and 25% of the population in the North Central Province are diabetic. He said the use of chemical fertilizers has also led to an increase in breast cancer in addition to diabetes.

The Minister said that many countries have steered away from chemical fertilizer usage and switched to carbonic fertilizers, adding that Sri Lanka has been using chemical fertilizers over the past 56 years and its ironic that that the country has not switched to carbonic fertilizers. “In 2017, 400,000 metric tonnes of chemical fertilizer was imported to the country and it has been estimated that this year 1.2 million metric tonnes of fertilizer would be imported. Within a span of four years, the usage of chemical fertilizer in the country has increased by 300%. This is a dangerous situation as the country’s production has not increased and neither has the cultivating mass of land.”

Aluthgamage noted that the government has no intention of importing carbonic fertilizer and appealed to the Opposition not to try to politicise this issue in order to gain petty advantage. He said that over the past 3 to 4 years the usage of chemical fertilizer has increased in the country, adding that there are many challenges that the country would have to face in the future. He said that the government is focused on the plight of the farmers, adding that they are also willing to compensate farmers for their losses in switching to carbonic fertilizers.

However, he said that pesticides used to prevent certain diseases in crops such as potatoes will be imported through the Agriculture Department. He also added that unlike the previous method of producing compost fertilizer, carbonic fertilizer could be successfully produced using micro-organisms.