ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s plan to import US $ 63 million in organic fertilizer from a China-based company after a ban on chemical fertilizers could be risky if they contain harmful microorganisms and are manufactured from municipal waste, a lawmaker warned.
Sri Lanka has banned the import of agrochemicals because printing money has triggered currency shortages and the agrochemicals have made people sick.
Opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna said the government first said it would produce organic fertilizers in Sri Lanka and farmers would be compensated for crop losses with money saved from a chemical fertilizer subsidy .
“But what happened was that after the local production of fertilizer stopped, a tender was launched to buy fertilizers containing 17% nitrogen,” said Vijitha Herath. in parliament.
“Suppliers said they couldn’t find fertilizer containing 17 percent nitrogen. Therefore, it cannot be done. All importers withdrew except one.
“He does not intend to import the requested fertilizers, but fertilizers which contain only 5 to 8 percent nitrogen.”
He said a company called Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group, a China-based company, has now been awarded a US $ 63 million contract to supply organic fertilizers.
Herath asked what organic fertilizer was doing warning that municipal waste fertilizers could contain harmful residues.
He said a sample had been brought and would have been tested that contained the Erwinia bacteria. The government had said organic fertilizer was supposed to be disinfected or sterilized.
Certain species of Erwinia bacteria are plant pathogens that destroy crops.
Herath said that now allegations have been made that the sample was wrong.
In May 2021, Hearth launched what appeared to be a conspiracy theory that authorities had banned chemical fertilizers so that interested parties could import organic fertilizers from China that could be harmful.
Environmentalists then warned that organic fertilizers from animal or plant waste could contain harmful pathogens.
Sri Lanka has subsidized chemical fertilizers and encouraged their overuse since it became an electoral issue in 2004. (Colombo / Sept21 / 2021)