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PA commends Govt on fertiliser decision

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RPCs involved in commercial-scale tea, coconut, rubber and spices note that critical industry development activities have been severely delayed due to the unavailability of fertiliser. These activities include standard applications of fertiliser for mature and immature tea, replanting of tea and plant nursery operations that are vital to sustaining the country’s second-largest export industry, which contributed $1.24 billion in export earnings in 2020.

“We commend the government’s pragmatic decision even at this late stage, which provides a much-needed boost to tea producers who are grappling with many challenges at, including escalating cost of production, and the continuing disruptions caused by the pandemic,” PA Media Spokesperson, Dr Roshan Rajadurai, said. “A sustainable solution concerning fertiliser will assist the tea industry to contribute to the economy to earn critically needed foreign exchange for the country.”

Following a Government decision to restrict imports in early May 2021, RPCs were faced with severe challenges in obtaining sufficient chemical fertiliser and agro-chemicals. Tea and rubber – the two main crops cultivated by the RPCs – were particularly affected.

A solution is yet to be announced concerning fertiliser for rubber, which too earns significant foreign exchange for the country. In addition to ensuring that the plantation sector can maintain optimal levels of plant nutrition, the industry is also awaiting further clarity on the use of other essential inputs for the control of weeds and pests. The rubber industry, in particular, has been ravaged by an extremely severe outbreak of the fungal disease, Pestalotiopsis.

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