India hands over 21,000 tons of urea to Sri Lanka in crisis

India on Monday handed over 21,000 tonnes of fertilizer to Sri Lanka under a special support program that will help farmers there and help boost bilateral food security cooperation, the second this guy in recent months to the island nation in crisis.

“Adding to the flavor of friendship and cooperation. The High Commissioner (Gopal Baglay) officially handed over 21,000 tons of fertilizer provided under India’s special support to the people of Sri Lanka,” the Indian High Commission said in a tweet.

This follows the 44,000 tonnes provided last month as part of Indian support for a total of around $4 billion in 2022,” he said.

“The fertilizer will contribute to food security and support farmers in Sri Lanka. It demonstrates the benefits to the people of the close ties with #India and the mutual trust and goodwill between #India and the # lanka,” the mission tweeted.

In May, India assured Sri Lanka to immediately supply 65,000 metric tonnes of urea to avoid any disruption to the ongoing Yala growing season in Sri Lanka.

Yala is the paddy growing season in Sri Lanka which lasts between May and August.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision last year to ban imports of chemical fertilizers in order to transform into a green economy has caused food shortages with crop losses amounting to 50%.

Rajapaksa had admitted that his decision to ban chemical fertilizers to switch to 100% organic was a mistake.

Since January this year, India has committed nearly $4 billion to debt-ridden Sri Lanka in the form of loans, lines of credit and credit swaps. Sri Lanka’s annual fertilizer imports cost US$400 million.

India’s support ranges from nearly $3.5 billion in economic aid to help ensure Sri Lanka’s food, health and energy security by providing essential items such as food, medicine, fuel, kerosene and other essentials.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis that has led to severe shortages of fuel and other essentials.

The island nation of 22 million has also witnessed significant political upheaval in recent times following massive mass protests that forced former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign from his post.

Meanwhile, a high-level IMF delegation will visit Colombo from August 24-31 for talks on finalizing a staff-level agreement with the government in the short term.

Sri Lanka had started to negotiate a possible rescue plan with the IMF in June this year.

The talks, however, have stalled due to political unrest in the country which has seen furious anti-government protesters storm Rajapaksa’s official residence, occupy key government buildings and burn down the private residence of current President Ranil Wickremesinghe. .

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