Government to bear a cost of Rs. 40 billion for fertilizer
COLOMBO (News 1st) –Measures have been taken to distribute fertilizer required for the ‘Maha’ season to all the storage facilities across the island, stated the National Fertilizer Secretariat.
Director General of the Secretariat, Ajith Pushpakumara said that a bag of fertilizer used for paddy will be sold at a price of Rs. 500 rupees while a bag of fertilizer used for supplementary crops will be sold at Rs. 1500. The government will bear a cost of Rs. 3000 for a 50kg fertilizer bag used for cultivating paddy fields, while a cost of Rs. 2000 will have to be borne for a 50kg fertilizer bag used for cultivating supplementary crops. It is expected that 800,000 hectares of land will be cultivated during the ‘Maha’ season this year. It is also estimated that in order to meet the current demand, 245,000 metric tonnes of Uria, 75,000 metric tonnes of MOP and 65,000 metric tonnes of TSP will be required. Meanwhile, while speaking at an event held in Buttala yesterday (October 14), Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera said that the fertilizer subsidy will remain unaffected regardless of the price hike of fertilizer in the global market. The Minister also stated that the government purchased fertilizer for a price between USD 300 and 335, but that global prices had increased upto USD 370. He explained that due to the situation, now the government would have to allocate around RS. 40,000 million and not Rs. 33,000 billion like before. However, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera assured that regardless of the cost that the government has to bear, that with the help of the national government headed by President Sirisena, a plan to continue offering fertilizer between Rs. 500 and 1500 will continue. The Minister added that for the first time in history, a national policy for agriculture will also be implemented before November. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture requests farmers to commence farming for the ‘Maha ‘ Season, using rainwater. Following an inquiry made by News 1st, the Ministry of Irrigation stated that water for farming will be released from tomorrow.