Fertilizer shortage imperils paddy cultivation in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Monday, 20 November 2006, 02:54 GMT]
Jaffna Farmers Society officials warned Sunday that since the Government of Sri Lanka has not yet sent adequate supply of fertilizer required for the rain-dependent Maha season paddy cultivation currently in progress, Jaffna farmers face economic ruin, sources in Jaffna said.
Due to the prevailing unstable situation in Jaffna only 6,000 out of the possible 9,000 hectares of fertile land in the Peninsula are being used for paddy cultivation this year.
Maha season paddy cultivation begins with the onset of northeast monsoon rain in October.
Though the price of the seed paddy has increased nine fold, from Rs 600 for one bushel of seed paddy during normal conditions to Rs. 5400, Jaffna farmers took the risk of buying the needed seed paddy expecting a good harvest.
However, as the GoSL has failed to supply the farmers with the necessary fertizer quota, Jaffna farmers face finanical ruin, Farmers societies in Jaffna warned.
Even though the limited stock of fertilizers in the Peninsula is sold for four times the price, the stock is not enough for all the farmers.
The paddy produced in Jaffna fulfills 16-18% of the needs of the entire Peninsula. This target is unlikely to be met with the shortage of fertilizer, Farmer's society officials said.
Meanwhile, shortage of fertilizers, fuel and pesticides, has also increased prices of the vegetables in the Peninsula, civil sources said.
The prices increased 5 to 6 fold and some items like potatoes are not found in the market. A kilo of brinjal (egg plant), sold for Rs. 60 in normal circumstances, is now selling for Rs. 350.