Tea harvest dropped by 50% – Sajith
By Nabiya Vaffoor
Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa claimed the tea harvest has dropped by 50 per cent resulting the Ceylon Tea’s reputation to be tarnished due to the government’s arbitrary decision to ban fertiliser and that the tea industry has suffered a severe setback. The livelihood of the tea farmers has collapsed and a situation has arisen where not even enough tea leaves are available to run the factories, he said.
“Even a child knows that tea cultivation in Sri Lanka is not possible without chemicals and fertilisers, but the government is unaware of this. The T-65 fertiliser is essential for tea nurseries and when the nursery is not properly nourished, the tea plant and the resulting tea tree will deteriorate and lose the ability to obtain quality seedlings.
When the tea leaves are broken, the tree loses some of its nutrients and if the tree is to grow, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium should be applied to the tree and the farmer has lost the fertilizer to apply to the tea tree due to the government’s decision. As a result, shortlived plants will lose the ability to get a long-lasting tea bush,” he said.
Premadasa said that successful commercial tea cultivation could not be done with organic fertilizers alone and that the tea industry was in dire straits. Premadasa joined the Govi Hadagasma programme, yesterday (13) to inquire into the problems faced by tea farmers in the Wanduramba Mabotuwana area in the Baddegama electorate in the Galle District.
Former Minister, Member of Parliament Gayantha Karunatilake, Former Minister Piyasena Gamage, Former Member of Parliament Wijepala Hettiarachchi, Member of Parliament and Bandula Lal Bandarigoda, Baddegama Chief Organizer of the Samagi Jana Balawega and many other public representatives were present at this occasion.