The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) charged that the Government was engaged in a conspiracy to release fertilizer stocks to the market only in March at exorbitant prices.
JVP North Western Provincial Councillor and National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation, Namal Karunaratne said that upcountry farmers (especially of vegetables, yams and tubers) have threatened to go on a massive protest if the Government continued to fail to take action in this regard.
A public petition is also being signed concerning this, he mentioned.
The truth of the matter is that one, no matter what the Minister of Agriculture states there is a severe shortage of fertilizer in the market and two, the Government is secretly releasing fertilizer at Rs 1,200 to fertilizer sales representatives and businessmen, he explained.
Presently, in order to obtain fertilizer, the farmers have to fill a form which they have to get from the Govijana Seva, and get the signature of the Govi Niyamaka, which is then sent to the Govijana Development Officer who once there is an accumulation of a number of such farmers forms, sends it to the District Secretariat where the Additional Secretary in charge of matters pertaining to fertilizer must sign and send back to the Govijana Seva for the farmer to actually get his/her hands on the fertilizer, he observed, adding that the entire process was a circuitous one.
“Vegetables like radish, kohlrabi, turnip, cabbage and beetroot are harvested in 45 days. Those who farm these vegetable will thus not get fertilizer and by the time they do get, it would be too late.
The Government has issued two circulars. One states that a bundle of urea fertilizer will be given at Rs 3,000, MOP or Rathu Kudu (Red Dust) fertilizer will be given at Rs 3,350 and TSP or Keta pohora (fertilizer) will be given at Rs 3,400 while the other states that until 29, February fertilizer will be given at the relief price of Rs 1,200. From 01, March, the Yala season starts. Thus it is clear that the Government is presently withholding and hiding stocks of fertilizer to be released in March so that then fertilizer could only be bought by farmers at prices exceeding Rs 3,000,” Karunaratne remarked.