Nov 23, Colombo: Ruling party Matara district parliamentarian Weerasumana Weerasinghe has requested the Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana to introduce a subsidy scheme for tea fertilizer as the tea industry is currently in crisis.
The Parliamentarian made this request at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Plantation which met under the chairmanship of the Minister of Plantation Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, in Parliament yesterday (22), Parliament Communications Department said.
MP Weerasinghe further said that tea smallholders have been severely inconvenienced due to the shortage of fertilizer.
Replying to the lawmaker, the Minister said action will be taken soon to provide this subsidy.
Dr. Pathirana remarked that the highest tea production in Sri Lanka was recorded in the year 2013 and the import of tea fertilizer was at a low level that year. However, the highest amount of tea fertilizer has been imported in the year 2020 and the yield has not increased in comparison. The Minister also pointed out that the price of fertilizer in the world market has almost doubled.
Parliamentarian Weerasinghe also pointed out that the prices of minor export crops such as cinnamon and pepper have increased significantly by 2020 and the price of tea has not increased. He also pointed out that small scale tea estate owners have been severely affected by this situation.
Speaking further, the Minister said that this is an important issue and the Ministry has paid attention to this matter.
Parliamentarian Weerasinghe also said that about 15,000 acres of paddy lands in the Matara District have become barren due to the Nilwala project and requested the Minister to pay attention to the cultivation of coconut in those paddy fields. The Minister instructed the officials of the Ministry to pay attention to this matter.
Discussions also focused on the introduction of an alternative to the drip irrigation system for large scale estates, the coconut coir industry in the Kurunegala District and the use of the Sembuwatta area under the Elkaduwa Plantations Ltd for tourism.
State Ministers Arundika Fernando, Janaka Wakkumbura, Kanaka Herath, (Dr.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle, and Members of Parliament Weerasumana Weerasinghe, Asanka Navaratne, Prof. Charitha Herath, Velu Kumar, Gunapala Rathnasekara, Goonetileke Rajapaksa, Manjula Dissanayake, Udayana Kirindiyagoda, Amarakeerthi Athukorala were present at this meeting.