Parliamentarian Weerasumana Weerasinghe has requested Minister of Plantation Ramesh Pathirana to introduce a subsidy scheme for tea fertiliser as the tea industry is currently facing a crisis.
The Parliamentarian made this request at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Plantation that convened under the chairmanship of Minister Ramesh Pathirana yesterday. The MP added tea smallholders have been severely inconvenienced due to the shortage of fertiliser.
In response Minister Pathirana said action will be taken promptly to provide subsidies claiming that the highest tea production in Sri Lanka was recorded in the year 2013 and the import of tea fertilizer was at a low level at the time. However, the Minister claimed that the highest amount of tea fertiliser was imported in 2020 while the yield has not increased in comparison.
The Minister also stated that the price of fertiliser in the world market has almost doubled. Parliamentarian Weerasumana Weerasinghe meanwhile said the prices of minor export crops such as cinnamon and pepper have increased significantly as of 2020 while the price of tea has not increased.
He also pointed out that small-scale tea estate owners have been severely affected by this situation. Speaking at the event, the Minister said that this is an important issue and the Ministry has paid attention to this matter.
Parliamentarian Weerasumana Weerasinghe also said that about 15,000 acres of paddy lands in the Matara District have become barren due to the Nilwala project and requested the Minister to pay attention to the cultivation of coconut in those paddy fields. The Minister instructed the officials of the Ministry to pay attention to this matter.
Discussions also focused on the introduction of an alternative to the drip irrigation system for large-scale estates, the coconut coir industry in the Kurunegala District, and the use of the Sembuwatta area under the Elkaduwa Plantations Ltd for tourism.