Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage says approval will be granted for the private sector to import chemical fertiliser, weedicides, and pesticides from today.
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing this morning the Minister said the Gazette Notification issued on the 26th of April has also been revoked.
The Minister said a Cabinet Paper was tabled by the President towards green agriculture, adding that according to the Cabinet decision the import of chemical fertiliser, weedicides and pesticides was banned while a Gazette in this regard was also issued.
Minister Aluthgamage said seven months have elapsed since the decision, claiming that as a people-sensitive government they decided to revoke the Gazette.
However, the Agriculture Minister said the government’s policy towards green agriculture remains unchanged and vowed to ensure fertiliser subsidies, concessions, provision of seeds, a control price, the technology, and the market towards achieving this goal.
Accordingly, Minister Aluthgamage said chemical fertiliser can be obtained from the open market.
Minister Aluthgamage added a regulatory mechanism will be introduced when allowing the private sector to import chemical fertiliser.
The Minister said the government’s initiative to shift towards organic fertiliser will not be amended.
Minister Aluthgamage said testing kits will be provided to test the soil adding that if a farmer uses chemical fertiliser instead of organic fertiliser, a mechanism will be formulated based on the outcome of such tests.
He also refuted claims that farming cannot take place through organic fertiliser adding that people are of the view that organic fertiliser is compost fertiliser.
The Minister said the world has progressed with modern technology adding that nano-nitrogen is also a similar alternative to chemical fertiliser.
Minister Aluthgamage added many foreign organic manufacturers have expressed willingness to invest in Sri Lanka.
He also said regardless of the government’s decision to allow imports, the Registrar of Pesticides will be removed from his post and will be transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture.