• Friday, Dec 03, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:35 pm

Sri Lanka imports chemical fertiliser despite ban

  • Published at 09:51 pm October 15th, 2021
Sri Lanka Tea Plantation Farm
Tea pickers remove weed at an organic tea plantation farm, in the southern district of Ratnapura on July 31, 2021 AFP

The government imposed the ban in May as part of a drive to make Sri Lanka the world's first 100% organic farming nation

Sri Lanka's government breached its own ban on chemical fertilisers by importing potassium chloride this week, scientists said on Friday, after outraged farmers warned the regulations could worsen food shortages.

The government imposed the ban in May as part of a drive to make Sri Lanka the world's first 100% organic farming nation.

But the policy sparked anger among farmers, who have warned that Sri Lanka -- already in the grip of food shortages caused by a currency crisis -- now faces crop failure.

The agricultural ministry said only that it had begun to distribute 30,000 tonnes of "organic potassium chloride" that arrived from Lithuania on Wednesday, but it did not comment on claims by scientists that the cargo violated the government ban.

"This consignment of potassium chloride is not organic fertiliser," said SDM Chinthaka, professor of chemistry at the state Sri Jayewardenepura University.

"Very clearly, the government has violated its own ban on chemical fertiliser," he told AFP.

Media reports quoted other experts also saying the government had breached its ban in importing the fertiliser.

Farmers have staged daily protests demanding fertiliser for their crops.

Anger grew last month when the government rejected 96,000 tons of organic fertiliser from China citing quality issues.

The government had offered subsidies to farmers to produce their own compost, but this failed to meet demand.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised to subsidise foreign fertiliser when he came to power in 2019, but later reversed policy, arguing that agrochemicals were poisoning people.

His administration has denied that the ban on chemical fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides is motivated by a foreign exchange shortage, instead claiming it is part of a push for healthier agriculture.

Farmers of rice, the country's staple along with tea, have warned crop yields could be halved without chemicals.

Facebook 70
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail