President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants the country to shift towards using organic fertilizer and reduce dependency on chemical fertilizer.
According to a press release from the President’s Media Division, the President had drawn attention to promoting the use of organic fertilizer in the country. This has been discussed at a meeting held to resolve the current acute shortage of fertilizer in the country, at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday, June 9. The President has instructed officials to find an immediate solution to the supply and distribution of chemical fertilizer as cultivation of the Yala season has commenced, though farmers have still not received adequate fertilizer for their crops.
Present at the meeting were Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, Provincial Governors, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Major General (Retd.) Sumedha Perera, and Secretary to the President P B Jayasundera.
He has told officials to find short, medium and long term solutions, the release adds. Farmers must be instructed on effective use of fertilizer by Agriculture Officers and through the Media, the President has said.
Meanwhile, Governor of the Northern Province Mrs. P S M Charles, had informed the meeting that more and more farmers in the North are preferring to use organic fertilizer and that their yield is better both in terms of quantity and quality. President Rajapaksa, the release states has said that if farmers in other areas too moved towards organic farming, many health hazards also could be addressed. Therefore, he has requested officials to pay more attention to producing organic fertilizer in keeping with accepted standards and identifying crop varieties that will grow faster with organic manure. While pointing out that the progress achieved through the use of organic fertilizer should be evaluated, the release also states that, ‘Attention has been paid to encourage use of organic fertilizer by offering a higher price when purchasing the harvest and provide concessions.’ The President has also pointed out that the demand for chemical fertilizer could be reduced if large scale production of the organic variety could be achieved.
The current shortage of fertilizer is due to a variety of factors, notes the release. As paddy brings in a better price, farmers tend to increase cultivation of this crop. Officials at the meeting have pointed out that an increase in vegetables, fruit and grain cultivation and the restrictions on agri- imports, have contributed towards a bigger demand for fertilizer.
Read Counterpoint’s previous story on shortage of fertilizer here: https://counterpoint.lkmaking-it-right-by-farmers/