The Finance Ministry has relaxed the regulations pertaining to the import of minerals,micronutrients, and chelated, a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions, for the purpose of producing fertilizer.
According to The Morning, the regulations have been relaxed through the gazette notification number 2238/45 of 31 July 2021 signed by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
Thereby, nitrogen (N) fertiliser, phosphate (PO₄³⁻) fertiliser, potassium (K) fertiliser, fertilisers containing such minerals and chemical fertilisers containing a combination of fertilising elements, that were previously banned from import, have been brought under the import control licence (ICL) by the aforesaid gazette notification.
The Imports and Exports Control Department has informed commercial banks they should not proceed with any payments in respect of these items without a valid ICL from 31 July 2021, while the Customs Department has also been instructed that it should not release the stocks of these items without a valid ICL from 31 July.
Despite the regulations being relaxed, the Government has assured that no chemical fertiliser would be imported in bulk as had been done previously.
Treasury and Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle said the licences would be granted under the supervision of the Agriculture Ministry and the Imports and Exports Control Department for permitted items as contained in the approved list in order to enhance the quality of the organic fertiliser.
The list includes nitrogen fertiliser, phosphate fertiliser, potassium fertiliser, fertilisers containing such minerals and chemical fertilisers containing a combination of fertilising elements.
A decision has been taken to relax the ban on the importation of chemical fertilizers and agrochemicals such as pesticides and herbicides/weedicides, which was proposed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, following a request by the Sri Lanka Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA).
In a letter to the President, the SAEA pointed out that average yields from paddy, coconut and the production of vegetatively propagated tea (VPT) would drastically go down if chemical fertilizer is fully replaced by organic fertiliser. (NewsWire)