Chinese fertilizer company demands USD 8 million from National Plant Quarantine Services

China Sri Lanka flags

Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd, the Chinese company that supplied the controversial stock of fertilizer, demanded US $ 8 million from the Additional Director – National Plant Quarantine Services Dr. W.A.R. T.  Wickramaarachchi within three days starting from November 5 and warned of legal action otherwise.

The Letter of Demand states that Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd. has suffered significant loss and damage of reputation and goodwill as well as existing and potential business, due to the negligent conduct of the National Plant Quarantine Service and the false reports.

The Agriculture Ministry had selected China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd through open bidding to supply organic fertilizer.

The government decided to import 99,000 metric tonnes of organic fertilizer at a cost of 63 million US dollars from the Chinese company. However, the consignment was rejected after an analysis reportedly found it to be “tainted”.

In two samples, the Sri Lanka Standard Institutions as well as National Plant Quarantine Service and Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board found microorganisms, pathogens, and diseases harmful to the soil, plants, and humans.

They had warned that China’s organic fertilizer would be an agricultural disaster as the samples were found to be infected with Erwinia, a notorious plant pathogen that causes severe post-harvest losses in crops.

After the rejection of the consignment this month, China announced the blacklisting of state-owned People’s Bank of Sri Lanka, citing a “vicious” Letter of Credit “default”.

China said that the Sri Lankan bank’s decision caused huge losses, but the bank clarified that it was only following court orders prohibiting it from making payments.