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National policy on fertiliser needed - Chairman TRI

The continuous increase in fertiliser and fuel prices are the two main challenges in the plantation sector today but the people in the industry must prepare to face this challenge and find solutions, Secretary Plantation Ministry Indrani Sugathadasa said.

Addressing the stakeholders of the tea industry at a workshop held at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute Colombo, she said that according to modern thinking Chief Executive Officers of companies should be COOs (Chief Outcome Officers) because in a business profit, is the outcome which is important.

The Secretary said farmers should be educated on fertiliser as they have certain misconceptions on up-country mix and middle country mix fertilisers.

It is also important to educate people on the value of organic fertiliser as some underestimate it discouraging the organic fertiliser producers.

She requested stakeholders in the industry not to turn to the Government for subsidies as the Government cannot solve this problem due to insufficient funds and for them to adjust to the situation. Chairman, Tea Research Institute Gerry Jayawardena said because 34 per cent of country's population is involved in agriculture, they should learn to continue with that in a sustainable manner which is important for the Sri Lankan economy.

He said the industry was able to save Rs. 600 million by using light weight withering fans and another Rs. 240 million by reducing losses through decreasing the quantity of fertiliser added, as a result of not adopting good agricultural practices.

Jayawardena has proposed to the Government to improve soil fertility by adding organic matter and hoped a national policy formula for energy saving from the Government.

 

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