European Union donates 3,820 tonnes of urea fertilizer to Sri Lanka’s paddy farmers

Ministry of Agriculture in Sri Lanka

The European Union (EU) handed over a shipment of 3,820 tonnes of urea fertilizer procured by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to the Ministry of Agriculture today (April 10) for distribution among smallholder paddy farmers and paddy seed farmers in Sri Lanka.

This new shipment of urea fertilizer will be dispatched to over 72,200 smallholder paddy farmers who were severely impacted by the recent economic crisis in Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Ampara, Matale, Puttalam, Kurunegala and Hambantota districts.

It is integral to a 4 million Euro (approximately 1.5 billion rupees) programme launched by FAO and the EU to address the agriculture and food security crisis in Sri Lanka while supporting the introduction of integrated plant nutrient management strategy amongst identified paddy growers.

Speaking on the support, the EU has extended to revitalize Sri Lanka’s paddy cultivation sector, European Union Ambassador, Denis Chaibi said: “The distribution of urea fertilizers for vulnerable farmers is one of many actions we undertook to respond to the socio-economic crisis affecting millions of people in Sri Lanka. We hope that with this new support we can prevent immediate food shortages but also contribute towards a transition to a more sustainable and resilient agriculture sector in the future”.

Through this programme, every eligible farmer cultivating up to 0.5 hectares of land in the targeted districts will receive 50 kg of urea fertilizer for the upcoming cultivating season. Additionally, the programme will also provide high-quality paddy seeds and the necessary technology/capacity building to boost the efficient use of fertilizer.

Crop failures during recent harvesting seasons due to shortages of fertilizer and vital inputs, have posed many challenges for smallholder paddy farmers to sustain their livelihoods.

This programme seeks to encourage smallholder farmers through material and technical inputs to adopt scientific farming practices to enhance fertilizer use efficiency and strengthen the seed paddy production system in Sri Lanka to meet the current demand.

The programme also aims to strengthen government seed farms by providing them with modern, state-of-the-art seed processing and drying machines.