Importing disinfected organic fertiliser to Sri Lanka would be an illegal and dangerous decision, said Environmentalist and Attorney at Law Jagath Gunawardena.
The environmentalist revealed that no organic fetiliser can be imported to Sri Lanka according to the regulations of the Plant Protection Act imposed in 1981, given that organic manure is made of decomposing animal and plant parts, which could consist of pathogens.
The decisions were made in view of the situation, he added, pointing out that a change of opinion, otherwise, could also result in a bad outcome.
"As I said earlier, Article 14 of the 1981 Regulations states that a small amount can be imported for laboratory research. It must be retained. It cannot be used for land," Gunawardena told media.
He added: "Nor these could be imported in tons and disinfected. I was involved in agriculture. Most people don't know this, but I have studied agronomy. When an organic substance is brought in, it is impossible to estimate what kind of organisms it is tampered with."
"Should these stocks be disinfected, the best method is to pour extremely toxic chemicals into the containers they are brought in. Then, there will be a problem with using them. On the other hand, compost is organic manure. When disinfected, the biological process stops completely, leaving only organic matter. It takes time for the biological processes in those fertilisers to develop again," he noted.
Environmentalist Gunawardena further pointed out that the decaying matter is accumulating in large numbers in the local government bodies of the country, which can be composted very quickly, due to the nature of Sri Lanka.
"Vegetable waste is a big problem in Sri Lanka. They can be composted. You can make high quality compost with them."
Accordingly, importing organic fertiliser would be a waste of time, he suggested, reminding that there is plenty of technology to be catered to the above purpose.
In the backdrop, importing organic fertiliser would only be contributing to business benefits of any party, not for the actual benefit of the country, Gunawardena revealed.
Debunking the myth that compost is a fertiliser, Attorney at Law Gunawardena stated that organic fertiliser only adapts the soil for the crops to grow. Due to the delay in the supply of nutrients from compost, a crop cannot absorb enough nutrients, he noted.
"A crop like radish is only in the ground for two or three months. Compost does not decompose and provide enough nourishment during that period."
In the event, compost, despite being a good solution, can only reduce the use of fertlisers and prepare the soil for the crops to grow, hence only one factor in cumulative agronomic practices, he revealed.
Conclusively, farming of zero chemical fertiliser can never be practically implemented in the Sri Lankan soil, but a reduced approach, he noted.
"On the other hand, we are talking about something that has never been done in the history of seventy-some years except during the time of Dudley Senanayake. If the soil had been prepared since that time, we would be able to develop chemical fertilisers today. But we start now. So it takes time to reach a goal," Gunawardena remarked.
Source: Voice for Climate Change