Fertiliser subsidy programme reintroduced

The government has taken measures to reintroduce the fertiliser subsidy programme from yesterday (6) onwards.

Cabinet approval has been granted to provide a 50 kg bulk of fertiliser for the use of paddy cultivation at a price of Rs.500 and a 50 kg bulk of fertiliser for other crops at a price of Rs 1,500, Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake said.

The fertiliser subsidy programme implemented during the previous regime had been cancelled by the Yahapalana Government considering the damage caused by chemical fertilisers to human lives and to the soil.

By removing the fertiliser subsidy, the Fertiliser Cash Grant (FCG) programme was introduced by the government to provide a Rs.25,000 allowance to farmers who cultivate paddy lands below two hectares in extent for the two seasons.

Considering the repeated requests made by farmers, the government has taken measures to bring back the fertiliser subsidy programme.

According to sources at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI), three types of fertilisers, Urea, TSP and MOP were issued as straight fertiliser under the fertiliser subsidy programme and a farmer was eligible to get the subsidy for five acres/two hectares or less per season.

Fertiliser subsidies were issued on the basis of recommendations given by the Department of Agriculture which were based on agro climatic zones and irrigation schemes. Therefore, quantities were issued according to the land extent and respective fertiliser recommendation. “Under this scheme, the subsidy had been provided for paddy and other crops. Paddy farmers had to pay Rs.350 per bag of 50 kgs and it was compulsory for them to contribute for a crop insurance scheme by paying Rs.150 per 50 kgs. For other crops, a straight fertiliser bag of 50 kg was issued at a price of Rs.1,250. The fertiliser was also available in the open market at a price of Rs.1,250 per 50kgs,” sources said.

With the introduction of the FCG, farmers were entitled for a cash subsidy of Rs.25,000 per hectare per year subjected to a maximum of Rs.50,000 per year under the FCG programme. Accordingly, a farmer with two hectares will receive Rs.25,000 for Yala and Rs.25,000 for Maha.

In contrast to the Fertiliser Subsidy programme,the cash grant will be purely based on the land extent. The maximum retail price of a 50 kg bag of straight fertiliser, that is urea, TSP and MOP, is Rs.2,500 and farmers are expected to buy the available fertiliser according to their requirement from the cash grant they get. Farmers cultivating potato, onion, chili, soya beans and maize are also entitled to this cash subsidy. They will get a cash subsidy of Rs.10,000 per hectare per year per farmer.

According to a survey conducted in 2017 by HARTI to ascertain the farmers’ responses towards the FCG programme, the majority of farmers have not experienced a significant change either in their cultivated extent or with the harvest due to the introduction of the NFCG programme.

Similarly, the majority of farmers have not experienced a significant change in the use of organic fertiliser and inorganic fertiliser with the introduction of the FCG programme.


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