The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) informed that farmers island-wide rejected President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to set the maximum retail price of a 50 kilograms bag of fertilizer at Rs 2,500.

JVP North Western Provincial Councilor and the National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation, Namal Karunaratne said that this would mean that the farmer would have to incur a large additional expense.

The Government should provide quality fertilizer instead of giving money, he explained, adding that a 50 kilograms bag of fertilizer should be made available at Rs 350.

Only then will the costs of production become low and the benefit of it will also flow to the consumer, he added.

This should be seen as an investment in the country’s agricultural production as opposed to it being thought of as a subsidy given to aid the farmers, he mentioned.

“The farmers are presently conducting protests island-wide and are taking to the streets. They have already taken a decision to stop all official duties. We warn the Government that the farmers are getting ready to come to Colombo. Discussions with Sirisena and the authorities including State Minister of Agriculture, Wasantha Aluwihare, have failed to yield a satisfactory solution. Stop inconveniencing the farmers. Obtaining a passport is easier than getting fertilizer. There is no market for paddy now. The Government must intervene to provide for the farmers to sell their paddy at a guaranteed price, otherwise soon with the drop in prices, farmers may have to resort to drinking poison,” Karunaratne observed.