Fertilizer Authority needed to curb mafia – State Minister Wickramanayaka | Sunday Observer

Fertilizer Authority needed to curb mafia – State Minister Wickramanayaka

Following the shortage of fertilizer in the market for paddy and other crops, the Government is set to order fertilizer importers to release all their stocks to the market with immediate effect.

State Minister of Agriculture Vidura Wickramanayaka told the Sunday Observer yesterday that, such mediation by the government is needed at this moment.

“There are certain reasons for the fertilizer shortage. Rs. 23 billion is due to be paid to fertilizer companies by the former government, and fertilizer companies do not release their stocks until they receive their due payments. We managed to settle only Rs. 2 billion on coming into power after November 16,” the State Minister said.

The requirement to use fertilizer twice this ‘Maha’ season as the first cultivation was destroyed by floods is another reason for the shortage. Inferior quality of certain fertilizer stocks and the inaccuracy in computing the fertilizer need of the country are other reasons for the shortage, the State Minister said.

“Similar to the rice mafia, there is a fertilizer mafia,” he said. The State Minister is of the view that several public officials including some in the Fertilizer Secretariat are engaged in this mafia.

“We must introduce a Fertilizer Authority to the country, not only to import and distribute fertilizer but it should have more teeth to curb the fertilizer mafia,” he added.

Meanwhile, National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasants’ Federation, Namal Karunanaratne told the Sunday Observer that vegetables, fruits and grain cultivations are affected more than paddy due to the shortage of fertilizer.

“I personally visited several fertilizer warehouses in the last couple of days. At the Dambulla warehouse there were about 200 bags of urea where at least 10,000 bags are needed every two weeks. Meanwhile, there were around 40,000 urea bags in the Polonnaruwa, Gallella warehouse. Hence fertilizer shortage has been created due to fertilizer mismanagement” he said.

Farmers in several areas protested that due to the scarcity of fertilizer their cultivation was in danger.

“All these farmers are disturbed and are clueless on how to carry forward their farming. If this continues most of them would withdraw from farming in the near future” Karunanaratne added.