Chinese Govt to be briefed

By Thameenah Razeek | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 11 2021

By Thameenah Razeek

The Agriculture Ministry will inform the Chinese Government of the Sri Lanka Government's stance on the reason for the rejection of organic fertiliser imported from China, which was later found to contain harmful bacteria including Erwinia.

 Secretary to the Ministry, Senior Professor Udith K. Jayasinghe, said they will inform the Chinese Embassy on what basis and parameters they rejected the organic fertiliser, as well as the reasons for their rejection. When queried if this will harm relations between the two countries, he said the agreement to import fertiliser was made with a Chinese company and not the Chinese Government.

 “The company has informed the Chinese Embassy on the matter, which is why the embassy has issued such a statement,” he said, adding that rejecting a load of 96,000 tonnes of fertiliser is no small matter, but they had no choice because the Government will never import fertiliser that is harmful to humans, animals, or plants. 

This week, meetings will be held to discuss this and fertiliser imports that meet the standards imposed by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI), after which the written explanation will be handed over to the Chinese Embassy. 

In a statement, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sri Lanka has given clarification on the organic fertiliser to be supplied by Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group to the country. This comes after the embassy contacted the product supplier to examine the issue. 

The statement said in the process of enforcing the contract, the Sri Lanka National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) claimed that the sample received contained harmful bacteria including Erwinia, after only three days of test and analysis, but as per the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC),it takes at least six days to detect the bacteria. The hasty conclusion made by NPQS lacks scientific basis. 

The decision made by the authorities to reject Seawin’s organic fertiliser based on the report is not only questionable, but also causes great financial loss to the company, read the statement. 

The embassy said it hopes that the related parties on the Sri Lankan side and the Chinese company could coordinate to resolve this issue and address differences through dialogue in good faith for the mutual benefit of China-Sri Lanka cooperation. Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said samples from China had tested positive for the presence of Erwinia, which is harmful to certain cultivations in the country. 

The minister said the Government will never import fertiliser that is harmful to humans, animals, and plants and will only import fertiliser that meets the standards imposed by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI).  

By Thameenah Razeek | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 11 2021

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