India puts 44,000 tonnes of urea back under credit line in crisis-stricken Sri Lanka



India handed over more than 44,000 metric tons of urea under a line of credit to crisis-stricken Sri Lanka on Sunday, as part of New Delhi’s continued efforts to support the island nation’s farmers and help to enhance bilateral cooperation for food security, the Indian High Commission here said.

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay met Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera to inform him of the arrival of over 44,000 metric tons of urea.

The High Commissioner met with the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and briefed him on the arrival of over 44,000 tonnes of urea supplied under a line of credit from India to Sri Lanka , the Indian High Commission said in a tweet.

“The High Commissioner stressed that this latest aid from #India symbolizes its continued commitment to support the people of Sri Lanka, including the farmers of #lka, and to strengthen efforts for food security for the citizens of the country. “, he added.

Last month, Amaraweera had met with Baglay and asked for India’s help with food security and environmental protection in the island nation, as it faces the worst economic crisis in its post-independence history. .

In May, India assured Sri Lanka to immediately supply 65,000 metric tonnes of urea to avoid any disruption to the ongoing Yala growing season in Sri Lanka.

Yala is the paddy growing season in Sri Lanka which lasts between May and August.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision last year to ban imports of chemical fertilizers in order to transform into a green economy has caused food shortages with crop losses amounting to 50%.

Rajapaksa had admitted that his decision to ban chemical fertilizers to become 100% organic was a mistake.

Farmers have warned that the country could face a food shortage by mid-August amid the current economic crisis.

India has committed more than $3 billion to debt-ridden Sri Lanka in the form of loans, lines of credit and credit swaps since January this year. Sri Lanka’s annual fertilizer imports cost US$400 million.

“It should be recalled that, in line with its ‘neighborhood first’ policy and as a sincere friend and partner of Sri Lanka, India has been providing multi-pronged assistance to the people of Sri Lanka over the past months,” the Indian High Commission said. said.

India’s support ranges from nearly $3.5 billion in economic aid to securing Sri Lanka’s food, health and energy security by providing essential items such as food, medicine, fuel, kerosene and other essentials.

The shipment of urea comes after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa offered to resign on July 13, after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence on Saturday, blaming his government for an unprecedented economic crisis that has put the country on its knees.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also expressed his willingness to resign. But an angry mob did not spare his private residence here and set it on fire.

Rajapaksa appears to have gone into hiding in the face of massive public anger over an economic crisis not seen since the country gained independence in 1948.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is in the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis, the worst in seven decades, crippled by a severe shortage of foreign exchange which has prevented it from paying for essential imports fuel and other essentials.

The country, facing an acute currency crisis that led to a foreign debt default, announced in April that it was suspending repayment of nearly $7 billion in foreign debt due for this year out of about 25 billions of dollars due until 2026.

Sri Lanka’s total external debt stands at $51 billion.

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