Sri Lanka to see establishment of Rs. 12.8 billion organic fertilizer plants by Poland’s RPF - Opportunity Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka to see establishment of Rs. 12.8 billion organic fertilizer plants by Poland’s RPF

Sri Lanka to see establishment of Rs. 12.8 billion organic fertilizer plants by Poland’s RPF

Daily FT: Colombo Commercial Fertilizers Ltd. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Regina Purpurea Fundus (RPF) to set up preliminary work to form a joint venture to manufacture organic fertilizer in Sri Lanka.
The agreement and potential investment come at a time the Sri Lankan Government is confronted with protests from farmers across all provinces chastising the ad hoc switch to organic fertilizer.
Speaking at the event, State Minister of Agriculture Shasheendra Rajapaksa said he accepted that there was genuine effort and purpose behind the President’s decision despite the many difficulties.
The investment of Rs. 12.8 billion will come from RPF, and the company says it aims to manufacture organic fertilizer using 100% local materials at four plants in Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Moneragala and Hunupitiya. RPF added that the investment would comprise of state-of-the-art testing and certifying laboratories and produce 200,000 metric tons of organic fertilizer annually. Thereon, the produce will be old to Colombo Commercial Fertilizers for further sale or distribution. Colombo Commercial Fertilizers, with a history of 150 years, is now a State-owned enterprise under the purview of the State Ministry of Agriculture.
The project and its proposal is set to be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers for further approval alongside the Attorney General and other regulatory requirements, whereby a more detailed agreement will be formulated for the purpose of the joint venture. RPF will invest its resources, including technologies for manufacturing organic fertilizer that will produce to serve all agricultural sectors in the country.
State Minister Rajapaksa said RPF would recommend appropriate processes for Sri Lanka, adding that the country has much to gain from its expertise in Poland and Vietnam. If the project were to proceed, Colombo Commercial Fertilizer will produce all necessary stocks for local consumption, and any excess stock can be exported.
“This is our first step towards clean food,” he said, adding that this ground-breaking decision by the President should be supported by future regimes given its purpose.
He added that manufacturing organic fertilizers was the biggest challenge the country faces, though Sri Lankan farmers possess the knowhow to manufacture them.
“The President took a difficult decision, and many people question why he took it. Our Government has done a lot of things that many people believed could not be done – like ending the civil war. Implementing this switch was a huge responsibility and not an easy one. We have studied Sri Lankan businesses that use carbonic fertilizers and the challenges and opportunities they face, alongside the experiences of other countries.
“Our farmers have become victim to the pressures of using chemical fertilizer. Before the 1970s, Sri Lanka was referred to as the ‘Granary of the East’. So why hasn’t chemical fertilizer helped make it even greater? Even the Ministry of Agriculture doesn’t have all the information. So, we are obtaining support and knowledge from the private sector and even overseas, and this public-private partnership is a result of that,” Minister Rajapaksa said.
RPF is a Polish venture capital consortium working with governments and organisations, investing in a wide range of initiatives aimed at sustainable economic growth both domestically and internationally. Established in 2004 as a family foundation with a mission to support entrepreneurs across municipal and social economy as well as commercial business development, RPF is supported by the Polish Ministry of Agriculture, the Polish Chamber of Commerce, and a number of state banks of Poland. RPF has invested globally in projects such as water purification, waste-to-energy, organic agriculture and related supply chains across Europe as well as Asia, bringing to the table capital, technology and knowledge.
RPF President Hubert Drabik signed the MoU with Colombo Commercial Fertilizers Chairman Methsiri Wijegunawardana. Drabik enthused at Sri Lanka’s decision to pursue organic fertilizers, adding that the country will be well-positioned to take advantage of emerging global trends.
“We know how bad food was when we had food fed to us grown with chemicals. I feel excited that Sri Lanka made the decision to do something that is vital. We are driven by different forces. In Europe, people demand better food quality, so we started over 30 years ago. People are understanding that wherever we put into the soil comes back into your body. It’s not only a technology or an international business project for us, it’s something that will add value to people. Demand for organic and healthy food is growing exponentially in Europe and the rest of the world. This will be the future,” Drabik said.
Responding to journalists, Minister Rajapaksa said farmers weren’t afraid of going organic, and instead it was intermediaries who were afraid of losses and were fuelling the ongoing protests. He pointed to farmers in the Northern and Eastern provinces and remarked that these groups had engaged in farming without chemical fertilizer for 30 years during the war.
“The President and Government took this decision without fearing elections, we are not worried of any such impacts. There are more kidney hospitals in this country because of the use of harmful materials, we want to reverse that. There is a tendency to look at other countries and say they couldn’t do it therefore nor can we. We don’t pretend to know everything.
“The health of a nation is not based on the number of hospitals, but how little hospitals are needed. This is not an easy journey, it’s a difficult target but it’s a worthy target, which we are trying to achieve, and which is why we are open to assistance locally and overseas. I hope we can be the first country in the world to be 100% organic,” he said.

OSL take:

Sri Lanka’s move towards organic agriculture has opened up a host of new business/investment opportunities in the country’s agriculture sector. There’s a growing demand for organic fertilizer including production, technical knowhow, seeds that provide high yield for organic fertilizer. Given the expansion in the demand for food and Sri Lanka’s commitment to ensure food security, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/IM/20211028/Z_2

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