Tuesday 29th November 2022

Farmers in Sri Lanka have stopped planting, resulting in a “man-made” food crisis.


Published on : 18 May, 2022 4:18 pm

Kathmandu: A previously self-sufficient nation is reeling from the consequences of an ill-advised shift to organic agriculture, which has been exacerbated by fuel shortages.

The farmer, who owns eight hectares (20 acres) of paddy and banana, claimed he no longer had the cash to run a farm after a government ban on artificial fertilizers slashed his rice yield in half during the March harvest. Especially since his banana crop appears to be in threat.

The majority of smallholder farmers in Walsapugala village said they will not irrigate their farms during the current Yala season, which spans from May to August. They claim that the fertilizer prohibition, coupled with countrywide fuel shortages, has rendered farming unsustainable.

Thousands of people have also taken to the streets in protest, blaming government incompetence for the country’s problems and demanding that Rajapaksa and his influential brothers resign from their positions in government. As the protests grew louder, the president’s brothers, Basil and Chamal Rajapaksa, as well as his nephew, Namal Rajapaksa, resigned from the government.

Food inflation, which is now hovering around 30%, could continue to grow. “Food availability and accessibility are at a crossroads,” said Jeewika Weerahewa, a professor of agriculture at Sri Lanka’s University of Peradeniya.

She called Sri Lanka’s food situation “a man-made calamity” and predicted that the country will face “severe challenges with regard to childhood malnutrition and malnutrition among pregnant women and women under lactation.”

Despite the government’s decision to remove the ban on agrochemicals, they claim they can’t obtain enough fertiliser or afford market pricing.

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