MV Hippo Spirit carrying 20,000 tonnes of organic fertilizer from the Qingdao Seawin Biotech recently docked in Singapore for testing by SGS Testing & Control Services Singapore Pte. Ltd. after Sri Lanka rejected the shipment.
The fertilizer consignment in question was under the spotlight over the past few months after the National Plant Quarantine Services (NPQS), which tested the fertilizer samples sent by the Qingdao Seawin Biotech, revealed the detection of the microorganism called ‘Erwinia’ in September.
Several days later, Sri Lanka decided to suspend the importation of organic fertilizer from Seawin Biotech.
The Chinese firm retaliated, saying that the 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).
The “unscientific detection method and conclusion of NPQ in Sri Lanka” are not in compliance with the international animal and plant quarantine convention, Seawin Biotech claimed further and urged that Swiss SGS group, a top third-party testing organization, should re-test whether the samples contain Erwinia.
However, the Agriculture Minister had later insisted that the ship carrying the fertilizer consignment containing harmful bacteria will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka. He had also said the samples from this fertilizer shipment will not be re-tested, nor will any payment be made to the Chinese firm in question.
The Chinese company later sent a letter of demand seeking USD 8 million in damages from the Additional Director of the National Plant Quarantine Services (NPQS) of Sri Lanka.
However, last week, the Sri Lankan government said a decision was taken to pay USD 6.7 million to the Chinese fertilizer company, on the advice of the Attorney General’s Department. – ada derana