Colombo: Tensions between Sri Lanka and China over a rejected shipment of contaminated Chinese fertilizer continued, with Colombo on Saturday refusing to conduct a re-test of the fertilizer, even as the Sri Lankan cabinet has okayed the purchase of more nano nitrogen fertilizer from India.
Director-General of Agriculture Dr Ajantha de Silva said that Chinese Organic Fertilizer samples onboard the Hippo Spirit carrier, that is hovering near Colombo Port, will NOT be retested, new first.lk reported.
He said although there were requests to have the fertilizer samples tested by a third party, there is no requirement to do so.
The official said he is satisfied with the tests carried out by the National Plant Quarantine Service, which had found harmful bacteria in the Chinese fertilizer, due to which the shipment had been cancelled.
De Silva said the Hippo Spirit, carrying tonnes of rejected Chinese Organic Fertilizer, currently anchored in Sri Lankan waters, will not be allowed to enter into the country.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Minister of Lands, S.M. Chandrasena said the Cabinet has given the approval to import more nano nitrogen fertilizer and to provide organic fertilizer to farmers free of charge.
Several experts from the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Society (IFFCO), which shipped nano nitrogen liquid fertilizer to Sri Lanka last month, have arrived in the country to meet with farmers.
They took part in a programme introducing nano nitrogen liquid fertilizer to farmers in Kilinochchi on Friday, in a visit facilitated by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Agriculture.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s National Plant Quarantine Service received a Letter of Demand (LOD) from Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., challenging the test results of the fertilizer shipment to the country.
Additional Director of the NPQS Dr. W. N. R. Wickramarachchi told News 1st that the National Plant Quarantine Service maintains the position that their test results are accurate and are in accordance with International Standards.
Wickramarachchi stressed all international protocols were followed with regard to the Chinese Organic Fertilizer in question.
He said after testing the samples, the NPQS sends those results to the relevant authorities in the Fertilizer Secretariat and Agriculture Ministry, “and the NPQS does not worry if the results hurt a particular country or supplier.”
Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., the Chinese Organic Fertilizer Manufacturer, in its Letter of Demand to the National Plant Quarantine Service, said it has suffered significant loss and damage to the sum of US$ 8 million as well as loss of reputation, which would affect its existing and potential business, due to the “negligent conduct of the National Plant Quarantine Service”.
The LOD noted that the NPQS should pay US$ 8 Million for the loss and damage caused to Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.
Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamamge has also told News 1st that the Sri Lankan Government’s position on the Chinese Organic Fertilizer consignment has been conveyed to the Chinese Ambassador in Colombo.
In a related development, the ship ‘Hippo Spirit’ carrying the rejected Chinese fertilizer is currently anchored off the Sri Lankan coast near Kalutara, bordering 12 nautical miles in the Sea of Sri Lanka.
Quingdao Seawin Biotech Ltd. has reportedly put up several conditions to the Sri Lankan Government for the ship to return to its origin country.
One of the main demands is for the Sri Lankan Government to issue a statement with the reason for the refusal to accept the fertilizer stocks.
The Chinese company has also made it a condition that reparations have to be paid for the ship to return, including for the number of days of delay.
But the Ministry of Agriculture has said that no fee will be paid for the ship’s return.
Secretary to the Ministry Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe stated that there is no legal obligation to pay any amount for an “unordered item”.