The Indian government has decided to supply this quantity of urea immediately to Sri Lanka at the request of the Colombo despite a ban on the export of urea from India. Sri Lanka is the only country after Nepal to receive such assurance
India is likely to supply 65,000 MT of urea to crisis-hit Sri Lanka after the country’s envoy met senior Indian officials in New Delhi, seeking support to boost the country’s agriculture production.
"High Commissioner Milinda Moragoda met with the Secretary to the Department of Fertilizers of India Shri Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi and thanked him for India's decision to supply 65,000 MT of urea required for the current Yala cultivation season in Sri Lanka," the High Commission of Sri Lanka said in a statement.
65,000 metric tons of urea will be supplied to Sri Lanka, under the existing $1 billion Indian line of credit, reported The Morning.
The Indian government has decided to supply this quantity of urea immediately to Sri Lanka at the request of the Colombo despite a ban on the export of urea from India. Sri Lanka is the only country after Nepal to receive such assurance. Significantly, this will be the first big shipment of chemical fertilizer to Sri Lanka after Colombo last month lifted the ban imposed on it a year ago.
Last year's ban on the use and import of chemical fertilizers had damaged the country’s agricultural production and reduced crop yield significantly, exacerbating the economic crisis.
A constant supply of fertilizers this year during Yala, the season of paddy cultivation in Sri Lanka that lasts between May and August, could help the country reduce the burden of food imports.
Separately, Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also been trying to form a foreign consortium, a move that could help the country to receive assistance as bridge financing until it reaches a deal with the IMF. On Friday, just after assuming the duties of his office, he met with envoys of India, Japan, the US, and China.
With its foreign exchange reserves almost exhausted, Sri Lanka is in need of urgent assistance to avoid acute shortages of food, fuel, and other essentials. On Friday, the new PM said there is a possibility of the situation getting worse in the coming days, but his priority remains to ensure the supply of essentials.
India has so far provided assistance worth over $3.5 billion to the country.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka, which had signed a currency swap agreement with China worth 10 bn yuan ( roughly $2.5 billion) last year, is struggling to use the facility due to some conditions imposed by Beijing.