Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake is desperately looking to resolve the crisis created by the shortage of fertilizer. Although the presidential office has released funds for fertilizer to the tune of 250 million. The cash is to be directly remitted to the farmers accounts. Many wonder how the minister of Agriculture and his team failed to acknowledge the looming crisis.
Duminda Dissanayaketold his cabinet colleagues on the 12th of December that There was a need of 36,000 metric tonnes of urea, 12,000 metric tonnes of TSP (Triple Super Phosphate) and 12,000 metric tonnes of MoP (Murate of Potash) for the coming Maha season .
He said tenders were called and seven companies made bids. Two of them were short listed, since others did not conform to tender conditions. Now it seems that delivery has fallen short of the promise. There have been no bids for MoP.
The urea for current paddy cultivation will be needed in a few days. Duninda admits that urea is costly and cannot be used for the current Maha season. Hence, larger quantity will be available for the next Yala season.
Now the government will have to look towards the private sector and purchaser fertilizer at a higher price. Still a shortage is inevitable . The Treasury or rather the poor tax payer will have to shoulder the burden of higher price.
Duminda Dissanayake’s voters are largely farmers and many of them will undoubtedly critically evaluate his performance soon or later.