- Dispute deepens in China and Sri Lanka over organic fertilizers
- China blacklisted a Sri Lankan government bank for non-payment of payments
- Harmful bacteria found in organic fertilizer from China, Sri Lanka refused to take
These days, there is a diplomatic tussle between Sri Lanka and China over organic fertilizers. Sri Lanka has refused to accept the first shipment of 20,000 tonnes of organic manure from China, citing poor quality. After which China has blacklisted a Sri Lankan bank in anger. Not only this, now a group of Sri Lankan scientists has also started opposing this fertilizer from China.
Sri Lanka signed a deal worth Rs 3700 crore
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government banned the use of chemical fertilizers in an effort to turn Sri Lanka into the world’s first completely organic farming country. Soon after, the Sri Lankan government had signed an agreement with China’s organic fertilizer manufacturer Qingdao Siwin Bio-Tech Group to buy 99000 tonnes of organic fertilizer for about Rs 3700 crore. Qigdao Siwin Bio-Tech Group is specialized in manufacturing seaweed based compost.
Sri Lanka denies saying that the compost is bacterial
After which a ship named Hippo Spirit from China reached Sri Lanka in September carrying 20,000 tonnes of organic manure. The Sri Lankan government agency, the National Plant Quarantine Service, refused to accept the shipment, saying that a sample of the manure contained harmful bacteria. These can damage crops grown in the ground in Sri Lanka such as potatoes and carrots.
China furious over stopping payment of fertilizer
Dr Ajantha de Silva, director general of Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture, said testing of manure samples showed that the fertilizer was not sterile, reports the BBC. Since the shipment was not allowed to land in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan state-run fertilizer company received a court order to restrain it from paying $9 million for the consignment through the state-owned People’s Bank.
China blacklists Sri Lanka’s state-run bank
China was so chilled by this decision that the Chinese embassy in Colombo blacklisted the bank for non-payment. In late October, the official Twitter handle of the Chinese embassy posted a timeline of events announcing the blacklisting of the state-run Sri Lankan bank. However, the embassy did not provide any information about the quality of the compost and the terms of the contract.
Chinese company demands compensation from Sri Lanka
Meanwhile, Chinese company Qingdao Siwin issued a statement accusing the Sri Lankan media of using derogatory words to malign the image of Chinese enterprises and the Chinese government. It also sought compensation of $8 million from the National Plant Quarantine Service for damage to reputation that occurred after the dispute. The company said that the unscientific detection method and the findings of the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQ) in Sri Lanka clearly do not comply with the International Animal and Plant Quarantine Convention.
Controversy over fertilizer in Sri Lanka China