The Government has to pay an outstanding of Rs 34,000 million to the fertiliser companies, accumulated from 2019 to date, Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera revealed.
He said that out of this amount Rs 29,000 million is for chemical fertiliser, while Rs 5,000 million is for organic fertiliser.
He said that crop leaders have been appointed for 13 food crops in the country to ensure food security, and had met with crop leaders from the Department of Agriculture on 27 May to discuss the issues that crops would face in the future.
During the discussion, crop leaders pointed out that a lack of chemical fertiliser, pesticides, and herbicides required has contributed to a decline in yields and farmers’ interest.
The Minister also said that steps will be taken to pay debts in the upcoming budget presented by the Prime Minister as well as steps to cultivate the aforementioned 13 food crops.
He also noted that the Yala harvest could reduce by half, but his goal is to provide chemical fertiliser, pesticides, and herbicides without a shortage beginning with the next Maha season.
He also stated that if seed paddy is not cultivated during Yala season this year, there will be a huge shortage of seed paddy in the upcoming Maha season. Therefore, arrangements have been made in consultation with the private sector to expedite the release of fertiliser required for seed paddy farmers, he said.
By Aloka Kasturiarachchi