Oct 14, Colombo: The Ministry of Agriculture stated that an agreement has been reached between the Government and the National Farmers’ Organization of Sri Lanka to cultivate paddy in the Maha season using organic fertilizer on the promise of fulfilling four conditions.
During a meeting between the representatives of the Farmers’ Organization and the Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage this morning (14), the farmers handed over a memorandum to the Minister stating that the government should fulfill four conditions for the success of paddy cultivation in the Maha season using organic fertilizer.
After the Minister informed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the phone about the contents of the memorandum, the President has agreed to fulfill the four conditions.
Accordingly, the National Farmers’ Federation of Sri Lanka, representing 11,000 local farmers’ organizations, assured their full support for the success of paddy cultivation in the Maha season this year and that local farmers’ organizations would be made aware of this.
Among the conditions put forward by the Farmers’ Federation were that the government should take responsibility for the timely supply of organic fertilizer through Agrarian Service Centers and that the government should take responsibility for any possible damage to the paddy cultivation or pay compensation if there is any reduction in the yield caused by the use of this fertilizer.
In addition, these conditions include restricting the sale of pesticides and herbicides currently available in the market at exorbitant prices and giving the farmer the opportunity to purchase them at a guaranteed price.
If these conditions are agreed upon, the National Farmers ‘Federation of Sri Lanka will inform local farmers’ organizations island wide and assist in the success of organic paddy farming in the Maha season, the Chairman of the Federation, SMG Samarakoon assured.
Expressing his views, Minister Aluthgamage said the decision taken by the government for organic farming is a decision that is very beneficial to the health and environment of the people of this country.
“I am on the side of the farmer in this decision. This will reduce the risk of many diseases, including kidney disease. Also, the availability of non-toxic food products will enable people to obtain clean and nutritious food. Therefore, despite all kinds of insults and persecution, we will work to make this policy decision a success,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, paddy farmers in several agricultural colonies including Kaudulla, Minneriya, and Polonnaruwa staged a protest in the center of Minneriya demanding the provision of fertilizer for the Maha season.
Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said a consignment of 30,000 MT of Potassium Chloride Organic Fertilizer required for the Maha season was unloaded at the Port of Colombo yesterday and steps have been taken to deliver the fertilizer stocks last night itself to Agrarian Development Centers in the most paddy cultivating districts of Ampara, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Trincomalee and Hambantota.