Sri Lanka coconut fertiliser subsidy to cost extra Rs2.3bn

Dec 31, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government will spend an extra 2,280 million rupees annually to give a fertiliser subsidy to coconut growers to boost harvests after nut prices shot up in recent months, a spokesman said. Sri Lankan coconut prices shot up over 50 rupees recently, far higher than the usual spike in prices during what is a lean harvesting season at this time of year, prompting protests from consumers. Media minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Cabinet of ministers at its weekly meeting approved a proposal to give a 50-kilo bag of urea and potash fertilizer at a subsidized price of 1000 rupees to all coconut growers.

“The national coconut production is estimated this year to be about 2,750 million nuts and our target is to increase it to over 3,000 million with the help of this subsidy,” he told a news conference.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to promote the usage of organic fertilizer among farmers.

As a pilot project, 25 organic fertilizer production units will be set up in all 25 districts in the country, Rambukwella said.

A 50-kilo bag of fertilizer is given now for paddy cultivation for only 350 rupees, nearly 10 percent of the market price, with the government spending 30,00