Jan 11, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has decided to implement a program to streamline the distribution of fertilizer to the farmers in order to ensure that farmers receive adequate amount of fertilizer at the government's subsidized price.
Under the program, the government will establish a Fertilizer Distribution Centre and a Fertilizer Warehouse for all 554 Agrarian Service Centers in the island.
Ultimate target of the program is to convert all Agrarian Service Centers into centers where farmers are able receive all their services and materials under one roof, the Finance and Planning Ministry said.
The Ministry, at a recent discussion chaired by Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, with the participation of officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and representatives of the state-owned fertilizer companies, has issued the instructions to launch the program.
The Treasury Secretary has instructed the relevant officers to increase the government contribution in the distribution of fertilizer in the local market up to 40 percent in order to ensure that fertilizer subsidy is granted to farmers without a shortage.
According to the Finance Ministry, approximately, 750,000 metric tons of fertilizers are imported to Sri Lanka per year at a cost of over Rs. 50 billion.
Under the government's fertilizer subsidy programme a 50 kg bag of fertilizer is supplied to farmers at Rs. 350 for paddy cultivation and at Rs. 1250 for all other crops.
The government has continued the subsidy for 9 years and paid the fertilizer importers Rs. 6.6 trillion (approximately US$ 50 billion) over the duration of the program.
The Ministry says the fertilizer subsidy granted by the government has resulted in motivating the farmers into farming and encouraging them to generate higher income through farming and the government expects to continue supplying the fertilizer at subsidized prices without a shortage in the future.