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India to supply fertiliser to Sri Lanka to avert food shortage, says President Gotabaya

Indian High Commission organises an event in Colombo on supporting economic ties for recovery and growth for both nations (Photo: Indian High Commission)

Sri Lankan President President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Thursday that India has promised to provide fertiliser to Sri Lanka for the Yala season, which lasts from May to the end of August.

Rajapaksa told irrigation officials that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to provide the fertiliser which will be supplied under a loan facility. He told the officials that it will be distributed within 20 days after its arrival in Sri Lanka.

One of the reasons for the island nation's crisis was low agriculture production last year due to the government's unviable plan of turning Sri Lanka into the world's first organic food producing nation. The subsequent ban on chemical fertilisers impacted production of rice creating food shortage in the country.

Yala is the paddy cultivation season in Sri Lanka and the farmers once again fear that lack of fertiliser could impact agricultural productivity once again. Owing to the ban on chemical fertilisers last year, farmers had resorted to protests.

Yesterday, the Indian High Commission in Colombo organised an event to support mutually beneficial economic ties for recovery and growth of the island nation.  

A tweet by the Indian High Commission said that the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Nandalal Weerasinghe, senior Sri Lankan officials and representatives from business attended the event.

Deputy High Commissioner Vinod K. Jacob said that the Government of India's Neighbourhood First and SAGAR initiatives will bring mutual benefit to the people of India and Sri Lanka.

India has supported Sri Lanka since January this year with nearly $3.5 billion of assistance including providing petrol, diesel, food and essential medicines.

The Sri Lankan economy collapsed after it ran out of foreign exchange reserves even to pay for food and essential item imports. The crunch also forced Sri Lanka to default on its foreign debt amounting to nearly $51 billion.

Read More: India's support has been critical in combating Sri Lanka's meltdown, says Colombo-based author Srimal Fernando