‘Natural or organic fertilizer should conform to acceptable standards’ | Daily News

‘Natural or organic fertilizer should conform to acceptable standards’

‘Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum says it is necessary to ensure whatever natural or organic fertilizers produced conform to acceptable standards, in order that they perform as claimed.

The fertilizer secretariat alone may not be able to do this as a nationwide exercise, and therefore suitable state agencies must be enrolled to perform this function. Such certification could be made mandatory for sale to the public.

“There are specific intensive agricultural enterprises, including protected agriculture, which are designed for the use of specialized chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They should be permitted to use a part of their foreign exchange earnings to import such specialty fertilizers. A system needs to be set in place so that this section collectively or via the registered importers could utilize this facility, if not already in place.’

“The National Fertilizer Secretariat should grant temporary approvals to those direct users or others with foreign exchange balances to import such fertilizers while adhering to the processes laid down by the Secretariat.”

The unstructured and politically motivated system of subsidies has been a bane of the country not limited to Agriculture. Hence this practice should not be reintroduced as presently being discussed and reported in the media, offering false hopes to the farmers and discouraging them from commencing cultivations using available resources. Any sector or individual believing and insisting on the use of chemical fertilizer should be ready to pay the proper market price.

It would be morally wrong to offer such subsidies, which are funded by the general treasury, and the burden of which is also shared by those who have opted to find ways and means of becoming self-sufficient, not depending on imports.

“The purchase price of major food commodities such as paddy, corn, and pulses must reflect the true cost of production without any subsidies. Therefore, those who have had the courage to opt for less expensive alternatives would be more encouraged.

Mandatory reporting of paddy and rice stocks held by the operating oligarchy of the large rice millers which has manipulated the market with impunity and the system of price control in total disarray and the consumer protection agencies being sidelined. Non-compliance with such regulations is to be strictly dealt with as a deterrent.”

They say that the essential safety net that should be in place for the segment of the society, highly deserving of support, cannot be served by general subsidies.

Alternative means as a properly managed and monitored Samurdhi system, once more not politically manipulated, should be utilized for this. This does not require any foreign exchange.

 “An urgent program is needed to discourage the present attitudes of a major proportion of the population from expecting handouts and all manner of services to be given by the state. The state should only be a facilitator and enabler to provide fair access to necessary inputs and services. All media, public and private should be enrolled to implement this paradigm shift, which would make all of us look for opportunities instead of handouts which in reality, continue to keep Sri Lanka a beggar nation.”

The time available to avert any possible food shortages, by continuing the past practices is fast running out. As such the encouragement of home gardening which has proven its value in the past must be highly encouraged. What is needed is more than easy access to seeds and planting material. The promotional propaganda which is not yet seen adequately needs major enhancement and should be practically demonstrated by those who preach it.



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