24 Oct

Sri Lanka’s ambitious quest to become the first organic farming nation has come to a sudden stop after a ban on the import of chemical fertilizer was reversed recently. This decision was taken by the island nation's top officials after deep contemplation on the drop in the production of tea. In 2021 Sri Lanka ranked no 4th in the world rankings for the top tea producing country after China, India and Kenya. Plantations Minister Ramesh Pathirana said on Tuesday that the change, of course, was to help growers of Ceylon tea, who contribute 2% to the island nation's Gross domestic product (GDP). “Considering the fact that there has been a quality drop-in tea that was produced in factories, the government has taken the decision to import sulphate of ammonia,” Pathirana told reporters in Colombo. According to Pathirana the decision to import chemical fertilisers has stemmed from the lack of organic fertilisers and the imports of chemical fertilisers would be stopped as soon as the organic fertiliser is available in enough quantity for farming. This difficult predicament that the island nation finds itself in was predicted by experts when president Gotabaya Rajapaksa had first put up this policy for discussion. Last week, the government violated its own ban by importing 30,000 tonnes of potassium chloride from Lithuania, but called it "organic fertilizer." If the Sri Lankan Government had listened to the letter from Sri Lanka Agricultural Economics Association which warned about the fall in production and adopted a more integrated approach then it would have surely not found itself in this predicament today. Ironically, government spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma told reporters at the same briefing with Pathirana that, “We are not a stubborn government, we are sensitive to the needs of the people.” 

Source: Krishi Jagran Media Group