Minister Basil Rajapakse has said that the decision taken by the government to provide fertilizer subsidy for all crops is a very important decision, and Sri Lanka is the only country that provides fertilizer subsidy in this manner. The fertilizer subsidy is being granted for the last 6 years covering 12 harvesting seasons without any price increase.
Mr. Rajapaksa made these comments when he met the representatives of the Cultivation Unions of Tea, Rubber , Vegetable, Onion and Potato at President’s Secretariat Office recently.
A fifty kilo bag of fertilizer is being provided at 350/- rupees and under the common fertilizer subsidy. A 50 kilo gram of chemical fertilizer is being provided at Rs. 1,200/- while a 50 kilo gram bag of mixed fertilizer is being provided at Rs. 1,300/=. Under the present arrangement there is no need for applications or for obtaining permits and it has been made available in private stalls as well.
The Minister pointed out that under the present international market prices the government spends Rs. 50 billion per year on fertilizer subsidy. He said that government considers this expenditure as an investment in real terms and is confident that this will contribute to the economic development of this country and it will also provide a great relief to the farmers and the cultivators, who were burdened with many difficulties before this government came into power.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. K.E.Karunathilleka has requested the cultivators to make maximum use of the fertilizer subsidy provided by the government, as the relief provided hitherto only for paddy, has now been extended for other cultivations as well on the instructions of the President.
He has said that it is necessary to apply fertilizer according to the directives of the Ministry, and has requested the cultivators to refrain from unnecessary usage of this subsidy.
He has pointed out that Sri Lanka was not affected by the recent world food crisis mainly due to the implementation of the fertilizer subsidy programme.
He has said that the vegetable cultivation affected by natural calamities recently are returning to normalcy. Mr.Karunathilleka has added that the government has absorbed the cost of 50 percent of the expense of the seeds valued at Rs. 5 Million provided to the farmers, and agriculture has been given a prominent place under the Mahinda Chinthana programme.
– Asian Tribune –