China said on Sunday that it has donated 10.6 million litres of diesel to Sri Lankan farmers and fishermen to facilitate their work in the most affected sectors of agriculture and fishery.
The vessel carrying the fuel donation was received by Sri Lanka’s Minister of fisheries Douglas Devananda here on Sunday.
“The 10.6 million litres of diesel donation by China will be provided free of cost to 2,32,749 farmers for harvesting 3,42,266 hectares of paddy fields, 20 litres per hectare,” the Chinese Embassy in Colombo tweeted.
Also 3,796 fishing vessels below 40 feet would receive 1,000 liters per vessel, the embassy added.
“Thankful to the government of China for the donation of 9,000 MT of diesel fuel towards strengthening food security in Sri Lanka,” Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara said in a statement.
Both farming and fishing sectors have been complaining of fuel scarcities affecting them badly after the government started rationing fuel issues since the beginning of August.
Rationing brought an end to the miles long fuel queues experienced in the island from May to July. However, the business sectors were raising objections claiming that the allocations were inadequate.
From the time the Sri Lankan economy crashed at the beginning of this year, the fuel and essential supplies were ensured by dedicated Indian credit lines.
The Indian assistance in the forex crisis which caused the economic impasse was worth USD 4 billion.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, plunged into financial and political turmoil earlier this year as it faced a shortage of foreign currencies. Due to this, the country has been unable to afford key imports, including fuel, fertiliser and medicine, leading to serpentine queues.