Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Chinese company demands $8 mn after SL rejects contaminated fertilizer

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Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd, the Chinese company involved in a controversy with Sri Lanka over imported fertilizer, has demanded USD 8 million from the Additional Director of the National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) of Sri Lanka for the loss and damage caused to the company. The company has sent a letter of demand asking for this payment through its lawyer M.J.S. Fonseka. In a Letter of Demand sent to Dr W.A.R.T Wickramaarachchi, Additional Director of the National Plant Quarantine Service of the Department of Agriculture, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd stated that the payment should be paid within three days starting from November 5 and warned of legal action otherwise, Daily Mirror Online reported.

According to the publication, Sri Lanka rejected the shipment on the basis that samples provided by the company contained harmful bacteria called ‘Erwinia’. However, the supplier disputed it. The company asserts that it has suffered a loss of USD million and continues to suffer further loss and damage due to loss of reputation and goodwill as well as an existing and potential business, Daily Mirror Online reported. Earlier a global think tank Policy Research Group (POREG) stated that after the Sri Lankan government rejected an order of organic fertilizer from a Chinese company, Beijing has been putting pressure on Colombo to accept its consignment. 

Policy Research Group said in two samples, the Sri Lanka Standard Institutions as also National Plant Quarantine Service and Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board found micro-organisms, pathogens, and diseases harmful to the soil, plants, and humans. In fact, Sri Lankan scientists put their foot down, warning 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, the think tank said.

It further stated that from all accounts China is not willing to accept that Sri Lanka has disallowed a consignment of organic fertilizer exported by a Chinese company.
Beijing is said to be using pressure tactics to have its way with Colombo. Naturally, all eyes are on the Rajapaksa government to see how well it handles the fertilizer fiasco by friendly China, the think tank added. 

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