Tea growers to receive fertilizer without shortage

dailynews.lk

Plantations State Minister Kanaka Herath said that steps will be taken to provide tea growers with the required amount of T65 fertilizer for tea nurseries and small tea plants without any shortage from this Saturday (3).

He said there would be adequate fertilizer for tea nurseries and small tea plantations after next Saturday since steps have been taken to meet the fertilizer requirement of tea nurseries and tea plants completely.

The State Minister made these remarks in response to a question raised by tea growers in the Deraniyagala area at an established organic fertilizer production centre yesterday.

He further said that the full amount of T65 fertilizer required for tea nurseries and young tea plants will be provided to tea nurseries and tea smallholders through the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority (TSHDA).

“Funds have been allocated for this and from next Saturday, these T65 fertilizers will be distributed to growers through the TSHDA without any shortage,” the state minister said.

He emphasized that the required amount of fertilizer would be purchased directly from the Fertilizer Secretariat by the TSHDA and distributed to tea farmers. A programme to provide fertilizer except T65 to tea growers through tea factories is already being implemented successfully. The Fertilizer Secretariat has released 350 metric tonnes of fertilizer for tea plantations. Steps have been taken to distribute this amount of fertilizer to tea growers through tea factories.

Due to the policy decision taken by the government to stop the import of chemical fertilizers, no chemical fertilizers will be provided for tea cultivation from next year and tea cultivation will be done only using organic fertilizers. Parallel to this national move eight organic fertilizer production centres will be set up soon to provide organic fertilizer instead of chemical fertilizer for tea cultivation, State Minister Herath said. He added that steps will be taken to set up organic fertilizer production centres in line with a policy decision taken by the government to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, which pose a major threat to human health as well as severe environmental issues, and to introduce organic fertilizers as an alternative.

The Tea Small Holdings Development Authority will set up organic fertilizer production centres at district level with the assistance of tea smallholders, Plantations State Ministry Secretary Thilakaratne Banda said. He said that the State Ministry has provided Rs.20 million to the TSHDA to meet the initial cost for the construction of these centres. These Organic Fertilizer Production Centres are being set up in regions of the TSHDA and several of them are scheduled to commence production within weeks,” the Secretary added. The Secretary further said that in addition to these eight centres, the State Ministry hopes to set up a number of other organic fertilizer production centres in future to provide the private sector as well as tea smallholders with the necessary knowledge and technology on organic fertilizer production. He said that through these centres, tea smallholders are expected to receive the total required amount of organic fertilizer.

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Chandana Sesath Jayakody

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