Chinese Organic Shipments Rejected to Promote Indian Fertilizer, Accusations Leveled Against Two Academics

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Hippo Spirit, left China in September 2021 carrying tons of organic fertilizer to Colombo [File Photo]

Dr. W. S. Wimalasooriya, in an exclusive interview with a prominent YouTuber, alleged a conspiracy behind the rejection of a shipment of organic fertilizer from China to Sri Lanka. According to Dr. Wimalasooriya, prominent figures Meththika Vithanage and Buddhi Marambe orchestrated a plot to reject the Chinese shipment and promote other private companies, with whom they allegedly had affiliations.

The saga dates back to September 2021 when the ship Hippo Spirit set sail from China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group, carrying 20,000 tons of organic fertilizer bound for Colombo, Sri Lanka. This shipment was particularly significant as Sri Lanka had banned chemical fertilizer imports in May 2021, aiming to transition to organic farming practices.

However, in February 2022, Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Fertilizer Company ceased payments to Qingdao Seawin Biotech after tests allegedly revealed the presence of a microorganism that could potentially cause crop failure. Subsequently, the Colombo High Court intervened, ordering Sri Lanka’s People’s Bank to freeze payments and denying entry to the ship carrying the contentious consignment.

Dr. Wimalasooriya, shedding light on the alleged conspiracy, claimed to have personally met Prof. Priyanatha Yapa, then associated with the pertinent ministry, to raise concerns about the manipulation and wrongful rejection of the Chinese fertilizer. However, according to Dr. Wimalasooriya, their voices were disregarded.

Blaming Meththika Vithanage and Buddhi Marambe for the debacle, Dr. Wimalasooriya accused them of leveraging their influence to promote other business ventures, including an Indian fertilizer company reportedly linked to Vithanage. Prof. Vithanage, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Jayawardenepura and a known member of the intellectual collective Viyath Maga, has been previously associated with controversies, notably regarding her stance on Covid-19 preventive measures, particularly the burial of deceased Muslims.

Meanwhile, Prof. Buddhi Marambe, a Senior Professor at the University of Peradeniya, was accused of being complicit in the alleged conspiracy. Prof. Marambe, who holds various prestigious positions including the presidency of the Weed Science Society of Sri Lanka, has been implicated in using his influence to advance the interests of certain businesses.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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