“Speaking on the Expenditure Head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Minister Mahindananda said that the gazette could be issued that evening.
At a press conference the day before, he said that as a people-sensitive government he would listen to the farming community and withdraw the gazette notification issued in May.
This gazette was signed by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday. For a week now this gazette has been neglected not by the Ministry of Agriculture or the Ministry of Finance but by P.B. Jayasundara who is the almighty decision maker in the country.
Meanwhile, the government imported rice. They stopped the required pesticides and waited until the weeds sucked up all the nutrients from the soil. The end result is invariably a malnourished paddy cultivation which will eventually turn to straw.
Currently, China has temporarily stopped the export of fertilizer and the price of chemical fertilizer is skyrocketing.
Fertilizer prices in the European market have more than tripled. Sources say that the current order is likely to be produced around February.
In the midst of all this, the government is procrastinating. This will eventually make the farmer, who has been the country’s lifeline, a beggar. The CEO of the world's largest nitrogen fertilizer company said last week that a severe nitrogen fertilizer shortage ahead would lead to a severe food shortage.
At a time when many countries in the world are planning to ensure their food security, Sri Lanka continues to neglect to facilitate agriculture.
Every aspect of the Sri Lankan economy is run by the Secretary to the President, not the Ministry of Finance. The cultivation of the Maha season has already been destroyed.
Steps should be taken to expedite the import of fertilizers and chemicals required for supplementary crops, up country vegetable cultivation and tea cultivation in Sri Lanka, especially in January and February, for future cultivation activities. Otherwise, if the import of fertilizers and medicines is further hampered, there will be a massive collapse of agriculture in the country which will pave the way for food shortages. ”