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* Fertilizer subsidy for Sri Lankan farmers amounts to Rs. 60 billion
Thu, Dec 6, 2012, 01:29 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 05, Colombo: The Deputy Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife S.M. Chandrasena said that there is no change in the fertilizer subsidy given to the farmers.

The government will give a bag of 50 kilograms of fertilizer costing Rs. 3,500 to the farmers at Rs.350 incurring 90 percent of the cost. The annual expenditure for the government on fertilizer subsidy amounts to Rs. 60 billion, the Minister pointed out.

He noted that despite the huge amount of concession on fertilizer, the government has to pay compensation to farmers when the harvest is affected by the drought, flood or wild animals.

Although the Agricultural Insurance Board has introduced an insurance scheme as a solution to cover the losses only five percent of the farmers contribute to this scheme.

The Minister said therefore an insurance charge of 150 rupees will be made when a fertilizer bag is purchased for Rs. 350. The insurance charge will not be utilized for any other purpose but to provide compensation when disaster strikes, the Minister stressed.

He dismissed the reports that the government has increased the price of fertilizer to 500 rupees saying that there is no plan to increase the price.

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