Sri Lanka urges India to export nano urea after detecting contamination in Chinese fertilizer


October 30, 2021


Sri Lanka urges India to export nano urea after detecting contamination in Chinese fertilizer

Image for representation.

COLOMBO: The Department of Agriculture in Colombo, Sri Lanka (SL), detected the highly contaminated organic fertilizer sent by China and canceled the fertilizer, and requested India to export nano nitrogen liquid fertilizer.

According to a news piece published in Colombo Gazette, the organic fertilizer samples were sent by Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., China, in August 2021. Qingdao Seawin was selected for the import of the fertilizer through the issue of a tender. When the samples were tested, they were found to be contaminated.

Upon being termed ‘contaminated’ by Colombo, China hit back calling the decision of the SL Agriculture Department “hasty”. The samples were reportedly tested twice and still found to be contaminated. Despite this, the Chinese company loaded 12,150MT of the fertilizer on a vessel from Qingdao Port to Singapore Port which came as a surprise to the Ministry of Agriculture, reported Colombo Gazette.

Sri Lanka Ports Authority said the agricultural ministry ordered them to prevent the unloading of the fertilizer in any port and to turn away the Chinese vessel. However, there is no clarity on the transit of the ship back to China.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy blacklisted People’s Bank of Sri Lanka over failure to make a payment in the latest episode in the ongoing row over the fertilizer shipment. The Chinese Embassy in Colombo warned all Chinese enterprises against accepting any letter of credit from the bank, according to News 1st, a Sri Lankan media outlet.

State-owned Ceylon Fertilizer Company had secured a court order to block the payment of $4.9 million to Qingdao Seawin Biotech after the fertilizer shipment was found contaminated. The order prevented the Sri Lankan bank from making payments under a Letter of Credit opened in favor of the Chinese company.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office had said that the National Plant Quarantine Services tested a sample from the unnamed Chinese vessel and “confirmed the presence of organisms, including certain types of harmful bacteria”.

The SL Agriculture Department canceled the Chinese fertilizer and the ministry requested India for import of the nano nitrogen liquid fertilizer worth Rs 9bn.

India has already exported 45,000 litres filled in 90,000 bottles of nano urea by air, reported Colombo Gazette. The Director-General of the Department of Agriculture, Dr Ajantha de Silva informed India would export 2.1 million litres of urea.

China challenged the report and forcefully sent the ship to SL leaving the scientists of the country angered who further accused the Chinese Embassy of humiliation over China’s challenge to the testing results.

The Director-General of the Agriculture Department was said to have the authority to permit the import of the fertilizers from the Chinese company, however, he denied having issued the permit.

He further added that he did not understand how did the fertilizer reach the country despite the cancellation of the order. He further added that the Minister of Agriculture, Mahindananda Aluthgamage too was in opposition to the fertilizer from China, reported Colombo Gazette.

(With inputs from Agencies)