Farmers’ associations dabbling in politics

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Many farmers’ associations have become politicised, and they oppose whatever initiatives the Government takes to provide relief or fertiliser for paddy and other crop production, Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera said.

He said some farmers’ associations have begun to blame the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture, claiming that substandard fertiliser was imported, even though there is no evidence to support this claim.

He added that the ministry is ready to make all necessary arrangements to provide fuel to farmers as the first step in the upcoming harvesting season, as well as free urea.

“375,000 farmers will receive free urea fertiliser. A farmer who cultivates paddy on less than an acre of land will receive a 50 kg bag of urea,” he said.

He highlighted that urea is being imported at a high cost at this time, but the Government intends to provide fertiliser to farmers at the appropriate time to ensure a full harvest.

Speaking to farmers, Amaraweera said each farmer will receive Rs 25,000 to purchase organic fertiliser.

Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has agreed to provide farmers with urea and triple superphosphate fertiliser. The Ministry of Agriculture has said urea and triple superphosphate fertiliser worth USD 55 million will be provided for this purpose.

It was also decided that all paddy farmers will receive free triple superphosphate fertiliser.

Attempts are being made to provide triple superphosphate fertiliser during the peak season, but as there is an import issue, they will be made available during the next Yala season.

By Thameenah Razeek