President Mahinda Rajapaksa will address over 4,000 farmers at a special conference that will be held at Sugathadasa Stadium to create awareness about the Government’s new fertiliser subsidy, which is estimated to cost Rs. 50 billion.
Scheduled to be held on Wednesday (22), National Fertiliser Secretariat (NFS) Director Ranjan Dharmawardena noted that the Government had previously only provided a fertiliser subsidy to paddy farmers.
“However, because of the demands from other farmers, the Government is now providing the fertiliser subsidy to all farmers cultivating any type of agricultural product,” he added. The Government will spend an extra Rs. 10 billion on the extended subsidy in addition to the Rs. 40 billion that is already given to paddy farmers.
With the fertiliser subsidy, a 50 kg of fertiliser will now cost about Rs. 1,200 whereas without the subsidy, fertiliser could cost between Rs. 3,500 to Rs. 4,000 per bag.
This conference is being held to educate the farming leaders on the weight of the Government’s decision to provide fertiliser subsidies for all types of crops. The other issue to be discussed is on the technical use of fertiliser with the new subsidised rates.
“The drastic difference economically will be new to the farmers and we want to teach them how to use the fertiliser adequately. Because the fertiliser will now be one-third of the previous rate, some farmers may overuse fertiliser in the cultivations and thereby cause damage to the crops and lands,” explained Dharmawardena.
Technical knowhow on how much fertiliser is required for a type of crop will be disseminated to the farming leaders at Wednesday’s conference.
“We urge these farming leaders to further disseminate this knowledge to the farmers in their respective areas within a week from returning to the respective areas.”
Farmers from all districts around the island will be attending this seminar and farmers growing a variety of crops will be able to get this knowledge on the proper usage of fertiliser to achieve the best results.
“We consider these farming leaders like trained nurses and expect them to go back to their districts and, within a week at least, educate the farming community in their areas,” stressed Dharmawardena.