Sri Lanka’s authorities on Thursday walked again the lifting of an import ban on most chemical fertilisers over fears of a political fallout, regardless of warnings from farmers of meals shortages and extreme harm to the huge tea business.
The South Asian nation has been scuffling with a money crunch worsened by the pandemic, with the central financial institution imposing sweeping import bans since March final yr to scale back the outflow of international forex.
The ban on chemical fertilisers — broadly used within the tea and rice industries — was opposed by farmers who staged protests after reporting failing vegetable crops as current shares started to expire in latest weeks.
Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the youthful brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had lifted the ban on Tuesday.
The president had earlier touted the coverage, together with on the worldwide stage, as serving to Sri Lankan agriculture turn out to be “100-percent natural”.
In a briefing to reporters in Colombo, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Udith Jayasinghe, mentioned there had truly been “no change within the authorities coverage shift to natural fertiliser”.
“Some plant vitamins wealthy in nitrogen can be allowed below strict licensing.”
Urea fertiliser, which is able to stay banned, is broadly used within the $1.25 billion tea business — the nation’s greatest export — in addition to within the farming of rice, the staple meals.
Jayasinghe mentioned farmers must use natural substitutes.
Sri Lanka is among the many world’s largest exporters of tea. Ceylon tea is valued for its prime quality and flavour.
A report by a bunch of specialists warned final month of considerable crop losses and meals shortages except chemical fertiliser was supplied urgently.
A member of a presidential committee that studied the transition from chemical to natural fertiliser, Herman Gunaratne, mentioned the sudden shift may have catastrophic penalties, particularly for tea.
“We threat dropping our worldwide markets for tea,” Gunaratne informed AFP.
Tea plantation govt Sanath Gurunada informed AFP over the weekend that the shortages can be felt absolutely by October.
“For the second we’ve shares (of fertiliser), however it will run out in a couple of month or two. After that we’ll not get the crop that we used to reap,” he informed AFP at his Hidellana tea manufacturing facility within the nation’s south.
“With a decline in crop, our international alternate earnings may even go down.”