The government’s abrupt and haphazard decision to ban chemical fertilizer imports has greatly affected Sri Lanka’s high forex earning tea sector. It would seem that the industry has been given a last-minute lifeline as the government recently approved a shipment of 100,000 tons of Sulphate of Ammonia.
Before the chemical fertilizer ban, Sri Lanka shipped over 200,000 tons of its world-renowned Ceylon Tea and earned over $1.3 billion. Planters have had to wait for several months as authorities were deciding between SOA and Nano nitrogen fertilizer.
Plantation Industries Minister Dr Ramesh Patirana stated that the 100,000 tons of SOA will be shipped interim until the government can settle on a sustainable organic fertilizer solution. Plantation Industries Ministry Secretary Raveendra Hewavitharana noted that they are currently conducting trials at the Tea Research Institute (TRI).
The Planters Association expressed its dissatisfaction with the authorities’ commitment towards addressing the issue and pointed out that the government is planning on saving $30 million while sacrificing $1.3 billion and damaging the reputation of Ceylon Tea beyond repair.
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