ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will halt subsidies to chemical fertilizer and the government will follow a policy of ‘green agriculture’ President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had said at a meeting to discuss the country’s fertilizer crisis.
“President Rajapaksa said that the government will only distribute organic fertilizer and provide subsidies only for organic farming,” a statement from the President’s media office said.
“The farmers should be properly educated. There is no change in government policy,”
“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stressed that the country’s agriculture policy is only for a green agriculture that focuses on the sole use of organic fertilizers.”
Sri Lanka’s farming sector is in crisis after chemical fertilizer and agrochemicals were banned.
Smuggled urea and other chemicals are available at high prices.
Sri Lanka started extensive subsidies on fertilizers from around 2005 as an election gimmick when the Federal Reserve printed money during the Greenspan-Bernanke bubble driving up fuel and commodity prices as well as fertilizer.
Critics have said the subsidies prevented farmers from moving to more advanced fertilizers, micro-nutrients, soil testing and custom mixed fertilizers as well as discouraging some types of organic fertilizer.
At the discussion, President Rajapaksa had blamed farmer protests against the fertilizer ban on the lack of knowledge and awareness.
“The President emphasized that the officials should work to find answers on behalf of the agitating farmers in accordance with the green agriculture policy and added that there is no obstacle for the officials who do not agree with the government policy to leave,” the statement said.
“The President also said that the support of a team that works clearly according to their conscience is needed for the success of this programme.”
Many experts have said modern hybrid seeds cannot grow properly without timely application of proper minerals and nitrogen fertilizer. (Colombo/Nov22/2021)