BY Buddhika Samaraweera
Stressing that government policy is to fully orient agricultural activity in the country towards the use of organic fertilizers, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said officials who disagree with this are free to leave.
“Insisting on the need for officials to seek solutions for protesting farmers under the green agriculture policy, Rajapaksa said there is no obstacle for officials who do not agree with government policy from. He said the support of an honest team of officials is necessary for the success of this program, ”said the President’s Media Center (PMC).
He made the remarks at a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (22), where the Maha growing season and the provision of organic fertilizers were discussed.
Rajapaksa also pointed out that the reason farmers are protesting these days and delaying their cultivation activities is that they are not properly aware of the use of organic fertilizers. He expressed his displeasure to officials for not educating farmers properly.
He also said that in implementing government policy, the existing chemical fertilizer mafia should be identified. The commitment of officials is essential to fight it and achieve the right goal, Rajapaksa said and added that in the future the government will provide subsidies only for organic fertilizers.
He then inquired with district officials about growing rice and other crops in all parts of the country, and officials informed him that heavy rains and delays in fertilizer distribution organics have affected the harvest of many crops, especially vegetables. However, at the district level, cultivation of nearly 70 percent of total agricultural land has now started, officials told the president.
A proposal to ban the use and import of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides / herbicides was submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by President Rajapaksa and was approved, following which the corresponding notification was was published in the gazette in May 2021.
However, at the same meeting yesterday, Rajapaksa tasked the Director General of Agriculture, Dr Ajantha de Silva, to take the necessary steps to import chemical fertilizers and specialized pesticides needed for growing vegetables, in limited quantities. , for a limited period, due to the current lack of organic and liquid fertilizers usable for market gardening and the predominant rains.
“This decision does not mean that the organic farming policy mentioned in the president’s manifesto has been abandoned, but given the current situation, the president has asked to take the necessary steps to import a limited amount of chemical fertilizers because there are no organic and liquid fertilizers. that can be used for growing vegetables, ”Dr de Silva explained to The morning.
On an earlier occasion, the Ministry of Finance, through Official Gazette notification No. 2238/45 of July 31, 2021, relaxed the regulations on the import of chelated minerals and micronutrients (a type of binding of ions and molecules to metal ions) for the purpose of producing fertilizer. As a result, nitrogen fertilizers (N), phosphate fertilizers (PO₄³⁻), potassium fertilizers (K) and fertilizers containing such minerals and chemical fertilizers containing a combination of nutrients, the import of which was previously prohibited , were placed under Import Control License (ICL) by said notification in the Official Gazette.