Govt talks to Russia for lower cost fertiliser imports

June 20 (LBO) – The government is in talks with Russia to source the country’s fertiliser needs at lower cost, bypassing local agents for international fertilizer companies.

Direct buying would save the government money, Athuluwage said.

The state owned Lanka Fertiliser Company usually calls for tenders for local supplies of fertiliser, with needs usually met through seven to eight local agents, at specified prices.

The government is now looking at options of buying directly from manufacturing countries, C P Athuluwage, Chairman of the state owned Lanka Fertiliser Company said.

A team from the Treasury, two state-owned fertiliser companies and the Agriculture Ministry, visited Russia recently for talks on signing a direct agreement with the government.

Meetings were positive, with the local team to submit their report to the Treasury for further action.

Athuluwage says that they could import the full fertilizer requirement for the country’s Maha season for rice cultivation from Russia, if the Treasury gives the go-ahead.

The country’s current requirements are 110,000 metric tonnes of urea, 35,000 metric tonnes of potash and 35,000 metric tonnes of triple super Phosphate.

Fertiliser sold to farmers is subsidised by the state and sold at 350 rupees for a 50 kilogram bag, though actual costs are in the region of 1800 rupees.