ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will ban the import of chemical fertilizer in the ‘near future’ as pollution of waterways and suspected kidney disease is a cost to society though farmers are making profits, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.
Sri Lanka was now spending 400 million dollars a year in fertilizer imports.
“The usage of chemical fertilizers leads to a better harvest,” President had told a meeting of state enterprise chiefs.
“However, the negative consequences caused on human lives through pollution of lakes, canals and groundwater due to the chemical fertilizers outweigh the profit.
“The health sector has pointed out that the effects of chemical fertilizers have led to a number of non-communicable diseases, including kidney diseases.
“The expenses to treat these patients and the impact on human lives caused by these chemical fertilizers remain high.”
Critics had warned that heavily subsidized chemical fertilizer which started around 2005 would lead to overuse and pollution as there is no incentive to use fertilizer efficiently or do soil tests to find which areas deficient in which nutrient.
All the respective parties should intervene to increase the production of organic fertilizer in the country, President had said.
The President said that organic fertilizer will be provided in lieu of the concessionary fertilizer package for farmers.
The annual spend of 400 million US dollars on chemical fertilizer could be better spent on uplifting people’s lives, President Rajapaksa had said.
Sri Lanka’s is facing severe forex shortages amid unprecedented money printing over the past year. (Colombo/Apr22/2021)