Crop damage: Farmers protest conditional fertiliser compensation
Posted on January 8th, 2022

By Maneesha Dullewe Courtesy The morning

  • Concerns over compensation mapping process

Farmer trade unions have protested a decision by the Government to only provide compensation to farmers who suffered crop damage due to the use of organic fertiliser issued by the State, stressing that the conditions had been imposed retroactively. 

Farmers are also questioning how the Government plans to map those affected to provide compensation. 

The protests came following Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s statement that no compensation for crop damages will be paid to farmers who have not used the organic fertiliser provided by the Government. 

Farmer trade unions blame the Government for reneging on its pledge to provide unconditional compensation. 

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation (ACFF) Convener Namal Karunaratne emphasised that the Government had not imposed any conditions when announcing the decision to shift to organic cultivation and that these conditions were being announced retroactively.

The President himself said that they were fully prepared for this shift and that if there should be any losses, they would definitely pay compensation to the farmers,” he said, pointing out that it was said that Rs. 5,000 would be given to a farmer per acre of land cultivated using organic fertiliser. 

Karunaratne said that there was no ethical justification for imposing such conditions, as farmers were suffering damages because of a Government miscalculation. The Government has proven that it has made a poor decision by withdrawing the relevant gazette and reversing its decision. Therefore, it is obliged to pay compensation.”

 He also shared that there had been no attempts to clarify the mechanism for providing compensation. The Government said that for each kilogramme of paddy that is damaged, they will pay Rs. 25. How did the Government arrive at this decision? What criteria or formula is this based on?” he queried, adding: The Government has not prepared any plan to provide this compensation. They haven’t allocated a cent in the Budget.” 

Karunaratne noted that compensation for previous incidents was still pending, with farmers remaining unpaid for harvests purchased by the State. 

Attempts to contact Agriculture Ministry Secretary D.M.L.D. Bandaranayake regarding Ministry compensation schemes for farmers over fertiliser-related issues proved futile.

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