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How Sri Lanka Lost It’s Way

In Glasgow at the ‘climate summit’ last year, Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa boasted that his agricultural policy was “in sync with nature”. He received widespread praise from his peers but warnings from those who could see the foolishness of his actions and this week he has received the wrath of the people that his policies wronged.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to impose immediate organic farming on the entire country has led to widespread hunger and distress after the agricultural economy rapidly collapsed.

Despite warnings from farmers and plantation owners Mr Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka was banning most pesticides and all synthetic fertiliser to go fully organic. Within months, the volume of tea exports had halved, rice yields plummeted leading to an unprecedented need for the country to import rice (from non-organic sources).
Unable to service its debt, the government and currency collapsed and the president has been forced to flee the country.

Sri Lanka or Ceylon as it was called is an ancient land. The pre-history of Sri Lanka goes as far back as 500,000 years. The era spans the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and early Iron Ages and it has seen many dynasties and rulers come and go.
Pioneers of tea cultivation in Ceylon in the 1880’s began establishing plantations but it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s that a movement called the ‘Green Revolution’ benefited Sri Lanka enormously.
A fellow named Dr. Norman Borlaug, who is usually recognized as the “Father of the Green Revolution”, developed agricultural technologies, including pesticides and fertilizers as well as new breeds of high yield crops to greatly increase food production. The economy boomed using these techniques and the quality of life on the large island increased for all.

Staple foods as well as speciality crops like cinnamon and tea have now become infested with pests leading to widespread hunger. So-called sustainable agriculture has become a disaster. The president promised farmers more natural manure for their land and bought a ship load from China, only to have it turned back because it was polluted with nasty bacteria. And so the theatre of ineptitude goes on from a trained military man out of his depth. Nothing was thought out and no consultation with the farming community occurred and no real understanding of what plants need to thrive was present.

The extreme left and it’s dislike of modern farming practices, along with mis-spending and corruption at the top has made Sri Lanka the first country to completely collapse, economically and politically. Chances are, it won’t be the last.

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