Sri Lanka will not accept fertilizer shipment containing harmful bacteria – Agri. Minister

The ship carrying a consignment of fertilizer containing harmful bacteria imported from a Chinese company will not be allowed into Sri Lanka, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage insisted today.

Addressing a media briefing, the minister noted that the samples from this fertilizer shipment will not be re-tested, nor will any payment be made to the Chinese firm in question.

He stressed that future fertilizer imports into the country will require a third-party independent test.

The minister’s remarks came after China-based Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., which shipped contaminated fertilizer consignment to Sri Lanka, urged yesterday that Swiss SGS group, a top third-party testing organization, should re-test whether the samples contain the microorganism identified as ‘Erwinia’.

In a media statement, the Director of the firm noted that if Erwinia contamination is confirmed, the supplier is ready to unconditionally transport the goods back to China, however, if there is no Erwinia contamination, the buyer should unconditionally accept the goods and arrange payment.

In late September, Sri Lanka announced that importing organic fertilizer from Seawin Biotech will be suspended as harmful microorganisms were detected in the samples sent by the firm.

However, the firm alleged that the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) took only three days to draw a suspicious conclusion although it takes more than 6 days to identify Erwinia as per the ISPM27 rule in IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention). After the supplier raised doubts, NPQ Sri Lanka updated the report on October 11th and had used seven days to test, but it still did not indicate the test standards and methods, the statement claimed.

The “unscientific detection method and conclusion of NPQ in Sri Lanka” are not in compliance with international animal and plant quarantine convention, Seawin Biotech said alleged further.

In this backdrop, the Ceylon Fertilizer Company today obtained another interim order from the Colombo Commercial High Court against the Seawin Biotech, its local agent and the state-run People’s Bank, preventing the payment to the Chinese firm on Letter of Credit.

The CFC first obtained an enjoining order on October 26 against the Chinese firm in question, preventing the People’s Bank from making any payment under a Letter of Credit opened in favour of the Chinese company.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the court has been informed that even though the Chinese Company was required to ship sterile organic fertilizer under the tender contract, it had admitted in its shipping advice that the consignment may contain microorganisms. – ada derana

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