It is a crying shame that in 2016, with falling oil prices, the by-product of refining that accounts for 60% of the 750,000 Tons of Fertilizer Imports, namely Urea is currently unavailable here in Polonnaruwa!
I just received an SMS that the President has declared a maximum price of Rs2,500 for a 50kg bag. This is because there is a fear of traders hoarding the stuff, for prices to rise in March. Simply put, market forces don’t appear to operate, as the big boys just as they control the paddy, and therefore rice price are trying to do it for Fertilizer too!! It is simply unacceptable.
Why should prices rise when in the world market they are falling? Traders want to create an artificial shortage. If farmers are given Rs25,000 by the state to buy whatever they want, instead of giving them fertilizer at subsidized rates, the traders believe they can raise prices and therefore benefit from farmers, flush with money, trying to get their hands on limited fertilizer for the Maha season.
The Govt.is under pressure, see the headlines of the Sunday Lankadeepa, of yesterday, the largest selling paper on the Island, which screamed, farmers are agitating for the return of the subsidy. The companies importing fertilizer were given the subsidy by the Govt. for them to sell at the lower stipulated price.
Private companies lately did not want to import fertilizer, as the Govt. did not pay this subsidy on time, and there was a time when CIC had an amount due of over Rs6B, on which it was paying interest too, and so losing money, owing to Govt. delay in releasing funds.
The Sunday Times reported that various committees are considering the matter urgently, but that they had not been able to come up with a short circuit solution!
This is all much ado about nothing, with Govt. servants not being able to think outside the box. With so much fertilizer in stock, according to the report, with enough for the whole of the next growing season, WHY ARE FARMERS saying there is NONE? Just get a list of where it is stocked, what the import invoice was for them, and the Govt. simply needs to tell the trader who has the stock, where to send it in the Island, and to price it at 10% above cost, publish this list of the addresses (100 around the island) with price for farmers to buy at. Simple!!!!
If when they call, and the stock is not there, just give a hotline no for the President, to report that there was no stock to by at the published address, and he will take care of the rest! Right Mr President you can sort that little detail through your staff.