Oct 10, 2021

No basis for pathogen presence in fertilizer samples - Chinese Embassy

The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka has intervened in the matter concerning the import of organic fertilizer to Sri Lanka.
In a statement the Chinese Embassy said the comments noting that Erwinia was found in the samples from Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd. has no scientific basis.
While pointing out that the Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd. that secured the tender to provide organic fertilizer to Sri Lanka is a world renowned company that exports to more than 50 countries, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said that this incident has caused great financial loss to the company.
The statement adds that according to the International Plant Protection Convention it takes 6 days to identify the presence of the bacteria Erwinia, but the National Plant Quarantine Service in Sri Lanka claims to have detected the bacteria within just 3 days.
In response the National Plant quarantine service said that the samples of fertilizer brought down from China were tested on a number of occasions and that the tests were not conducted only for 3 days.
The National Plant quarantine service added that a full report on the tests conducted after the preliminary examination has also been submitted to the Director General of Agriculture.
Professor Devika De Costa from the Department of Agricultural Biology at the University of Peradeniya sais there is no scientific basis in claiming that the tests have not been conducted properly.
“All the accepted procedures to identify the pathogen were followed,” she added.
Professor Nalaki Ranatunga of the Department of Agriculture Biology attached to the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Ruhuna stressed that the National Plant Quarantine Service is a state institution that is accepted across the world.
“The people working there are experts in the field and state officials. If they have released some information, they do so after conducting all the established and accepted tests. They are also in possession of the results of these tests. Therefore these allegations are baseless,” she added.
On the 5th of October 2021, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Parliament that laboratory tests have confirmed that the Organic Fertilizer samples sent from India, are suitable to be used in the country.
He said National Plant Quarantine Service had given the green light for the Indian fertilizer.
The Minister said discussions are underway to import nano-nitrogen fertilizer from India and if there is a delay, a decision has been reached to import the fertilizer using aircraft.
He said previous samples from China had tested positive for the presence of the Erwinia Bacteria, which is harmful to certain cultivations in the country.
The Agriculture Minister assured that the suspension of Chinese Organic Fertilizer will not impact the harvesting seasons in the country.
He said on the 12th of October the necessary fertilizer will be released for the Maha Season cultivation.
Responding to a question in Parliament, the Minister said the government will never import fertilizer that is harmful to humans, animals, and plants and will only import fertilizer that meets the standards imposed by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI).
He reprimanded the former administration for its improper imports of fertilizer to the country, forcing the present administration to suspend chemical fertilizer imports.
He told Parliament that samples are tested at four local laboratories and one international laboratory and assured that fertilizer that is harmful will never be imported.
On the 3rd of October 2021, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister said that Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., a Chinese Organic Fertilizer Company, will be sending a fresh batch of fertilizer to Sri Lanka after a harmful pathogen was detected in samples.
‘The Chinese firm admitted their mistake and have assured us that they will rectify it,’ said Mahindananda Aluthgamage.
On September 29th, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage announced the suspension of organic fertilizer imports from China.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, this decision was reached after laboratory tests revealed the presence of harmful bacteria in the organic fertilizer samples.
Harmful Bacteria was detected in a fresh sample of Chinese Organic Fertilizer, said the Director-General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha De Silva on 28th September.
He told News 1st that samples from a Chinese company tested by authorities once again proved the presence of bacteria and he maintains the position to NOT allow any organic fertilizer from the particular supplier to be imported to the country.
This supplier was revealed as Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.
On the 17th of September Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture confirmed for the first time that a microorganism identified as ‘Erwinia’ was discovered in samples brought down ‘unofficially’ to Sri Lanka and tested.
The supplier was the same, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by newsfirst.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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