Planters’ Assn commends Govt’s move on agri input imports | Sunday Observer

Planters’ Assn commends Govt’s move on agri input imports

5 December, 2021

Commending the Government’s decision to allow the private sector to import fertiliser and agrochemicals, the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) has offered its support to the authorities to arrive at a long-term solution to the issue, amenable to all parties.

The association, which represents the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) involved in the commercial cultivation of tea, rubber and other plantation crops – called for collaboration between key stakeholders, to address the underlying reasons which led to the ban.

“We appreciate the Government’s decision and response to the requests of the country’s agriculture and plantation sectors and request for its implementation to be fast-tracked,” Planters’ Association media spokesperson, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai said.

“While naturally, given how it impacts many livelihoods across the country, the subject created heated debate, this prudent decision now presents an important opportunity for collaboration between stakeholders.”

“As the country’s premier plantation industry representative, the Planters’ Association expresses its fullest commitment to working in partnership with the authorities, to identify feasible opportunities for organic agriculture adoption and to articulate a comprehensive roadmap to achieve this vision,” he said.

As producers of predominantly export crops – which undergo stringent testing for chemical residue – RPCs adhere closely to the recommendations of organisations such as the Tea and Rubber Research Institute in the application of agri inputs. However, since this may not be the case for all crops cultivated in the country, particularly those aimed at the domestic market, it is important to formulate a mechanism in this regard, the PA stated.

Such collaboration will be a win-win for all stakeholders, the PA reiterates. It will minimise the use of agri-inputs – an important milestone in the government’s vision in moving towards organic agriculture, ensure the health and wellbeing of the people and provide greater stability and direction to farmers and the private sector.

The government decided to partially lift the ban on chemical fertilisers enabling the private sector to import stocks to allow farmers to purchase it from the open market.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in May imposed a ban on importing chemical fertiliser to go 100 percent organic.