Tea fertiliser subsidy on the cards – Ramesh
By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake
Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said a subsidy would be provided for tea fertiliser soon.
He said so in response to SLPP MP Weerasumana Weerasinghe at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Plantation meeting on Monday (22).
Weerasinghe requested Plantation Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana to introduce a subsidy scheme for tea fertilizer, as the tea industry is currently in crisis, stating that tea smallholders have been severely inconvenienced due to the shortage of fertiliser.
Weerasinghe also pointed out that the prices of minor export crops such as cinnamon and pepper have increased significantly by 2020 and the price of tea has not increased. He also pointed out that small-scale tea estate owners have been severely affected by this situation.
Claiming that the Ministry has paid attention to the matter, Dr. Pathirana said the highest tea production in Sri Lanka was recorded in the year 2013 and the import of tea fertiliser was at a low level that year. However, the highest amount of tea fertiliser has been imported in the year 2020 and the yield has not increased in comparison. The Minister also pointed out that the price of fertiliser in the world market has almost doubled.
Weerasinghe said about 15,000 acres of paddy lands in the Matara District have become barren due to the Nilwala Eliya Development Project and requested the Minister to pay attention to the cultivation of coconut in those paddy fields.
The Minister instructed the ministry officials to pay attention to this matter.
Discussions also focused on the introduction of an alternative to the drip irrigation system for large-scale estates, the coconut coir industry in the Kurunegala District and the use of the Sembuwatta area under Elkaduwa Plantations Ltd. for tourism.