Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd, the Chinese company that supplied the controversial stock of fertilizer, demanded US $ 8 million from Additional Director- National Plant Quarantine Services Dr W.A.R. T. Wickramaarachchi within three days starting from November 5 and warned of legal action otherwise.
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 has sent a letter of demand asking for this payment through its lawyer M.J.S. Fonseka.
Mr. Fonseka says in the letter, “I write on the instructions of my client namely Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd of No. 127,Huizhiqiao Road, High-tech Industrial Development Zone, Qingdao, Shandong, China. I am instructed that the National Plant Quarantine Service of the Department of Agriculture conducted several purported tests on samples of Solid Organic Fertlizer supplied and/or to be supplied by client above named under two contracts between my client and the Ceylon Fertilizer Co. Ltd and Colombo Commercial Fertilizers Ltd respectively. I am instructed that you have under you signature issued a purported test report dated 8th September 2021 bearing Your Ref: NPQS/PATHO/OF/2021/01 stating that the sample of Solid Organic fertilizer bearing No. 388 (Sea Weed Organic Granular) was found to be highly contaminated with gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and that the “preliminary studies have revealed that bacteria to be Bacillus spp. and Erwinia spp. which can be pathogenic to plants.”
I am further instructed that upon a purported analysis of samples of the product of my client you have under your signature issued a further report dated 27th September 2021 stating inter alia that such “Samples are suspected to be contaminated with several bacterial species including Erwinia.”
Subsequently, by the Final Report dated 4 th October 2021 bearing Your Reference No:NPQS/FT/2021/011 issued by you under your signature you have both samples of Seaweed Organic Granular Fertilizer drawn from load port and the production line “were contaminated with soft-rot causing Erwinia spp” upon carrying out a purported pathogenicity test thereon,” .
The company asserts that it has suffered a loss of US $ million and continues to suffer further loss and damage due to loss of reputation and goodwill as well as existing and potential business.
The company maintains that it is the largest and the number one organic fertilizer manufacturer in China, and its product Seaweed Organic Granular Fertilizer is exported to more than 50 countries worldwide including USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand over long period of time and has an extensive State and private customer base in such countries.
It says the raw materials used in manufacturing the subject products are commercialized organic raw materials, Amino acids, Humic acid, Seaweed and clay. The production process is Roller Double Drying Process at temperature of 600°c.
“All pathogenic bacteria raw materials will be killed and it is free from pathogenic pests and bacteria,” it says.(Kelum Bandara)