Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Food Security and Agriculture, Member of Parliament Mr. D. Weerasinghe said that they have already proposed a national policy for agriculture to regulate the usage, quality and price of chemical fertilizers and seeds imported to the country based on experimental data carried out for several decades.
He also mentioned that it has been confirmed that the highest rice yield per hectare can be obtained by using 70% chemical fertilizers and 30% organic fertilizers in proportion, based on research conducted since 2003 and the proposed national policy will also include those findings.
Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Food Security and Agriculture, Member of Parliament Mr. D. Weerasinghe conveyed these updates during a media briefing held today (05) at the Presidential Media Centre under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.’
Mr. D. Weerasinghe further said;
Even though governments have changed, every sector needs to have a national policy that does not change. The agriculture sector has been waiting for a national policy for the last 25 years. If we lose the quality of the agricultural sector, the country’s agriculture will fail.
Therefore, this country needs a national policy regarding imported chemical fertilizers and seeds together with their price regulation.
In the next sectoral oversight committee meeting, a report will be submitted to investigate the quality of chemical fertilizers and seeds and to regulate their prices. Under the direct advice of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, we are in the process of introducing modern technology to traditional agriculture. Also, measures are being taken to provide training to agriculture-related government officials regarding the use of fertilizers.
Due to the overuse of chemical fertilizers for many decades, the quality of the soil has now decreased. It has been recommended to apply 70% chemical fertilizers and 30% organic fertilizers for crops in proportion. However, there is a problem regarding the quality of these applied fertilizers.
Some companies produce high-quality fertilizers in the country. However, due to the recent issues related to fertilizers, their image has suffered some damage. It should be rectified again. Programs should be prepared to protect such entrepreneurs and promote agriculture around the country.
Entrepreneurs who produce organic bio-fertilizers and liquid fertilizers should be gathered and this program should be carried forward. This cannot be done overnight. It is necessary to provide organic fertilizers to the farmers for at least five seasons to make this program successful.
Through the Colombo Declaration signed under the United Nations Global Environment Programme in 2016, we have agreed that the nitrogen waste released into the environment should be reduced by 50% by 2030. Therefore, the implementation of this program is mandatory.
Also, the European Union has decided to make their purchases of completely organic fruits and vegetables when exporting to their countries by 2030. So if we hope to export fruits and vegetables to EU countries in the future, we should tend to use organic fertilizers.
That is why it was decided as a committee to continue the agricultural production process with organic fertilizers. In 2013, the Ministry of Agriculture recommended the use of organic fertilizers. They have asked to apply 10 metric tons per hectare.
However, the farmers are facing practical problems. Ten thousand kilos cannot be applied per hectare of land. But today, government and private institutions have researched together and produced bio and liquid fertilizers.
It is possible to increase the yield by 40% through the use of nano-fertilizers, compared to 100% chemical fertilizers. Also, 70% organic fertilizers and 30% chemical fertilizers can increase the yield of this country from 13% to 25%.
There is a very wrong attitude among farmers regarding organic fertilizers. Therefore, there should be a change in the attitude of the farmers as well. Chemical fertilizer companies are ahead of us and they have drawn it. Therefore, the time has come to create a new attitude change among the farmers.
The agriculture modernization program is essential for this country. Organic fertilizers should be used for the safety of seeds, health and soil. If not, the degradation of our soil is inevitable. People’s health, seeds and the whole agriculture sector would be destroyed.
Before the use of chemical fertilizers in 1960, this country was self-sufficient in agriculture. Everyone has to think again about what happened to this Eastern Granary. Also, the government spends a lot of money to import chemical fertilizers.
Many people are still protesting against this program. As a young MP who came to the Parliament by the vote of the farmers, I will fulfil my responsibility to the country even if I lose my political career.
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