Protect The Harvest | An Organic Farming Policy that Ended in Catastrophe

Fertilizer, crop chemicals ban: A cautionary tale from Sri Lanka From an article in Farm Progress by Protect The Harvest Advisory Committee member Gary Baise What’s happening in Sri Lanka right now – riots, food shortages, power cuts and more – should be a cautionary tale for political leaders who hope to get elected on populist rhetoric that has little basis in economic or agronomic reality. Sri Lanka has a developing economy; it’s a small island country off the coast of India where 21% of GDP comes from agriculture. Last year the country’s president attempted to convert the entire nation’s food production to organic. Can an entire nation make a wholesale shift in ag production methods overnight? Only in fairy tales. The president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, had made it an election promise in 2019: He would make his the first country in the world to “ban” inorganic fertilizers and crop-protection products. Rajapaksa, as a result of his failed scheme, was forced to declare “a food emergency, imposing price controls and strict rationing.” At this moment the country is in so much turmoil, Rajapaksa is barely clinging to power. What happened Banning fertilizers for the growing of tea, rice and other food crops has “drawn criticism from agricultural experts [in the country], who warn that Sri Lanka’s food security is at stake.” There are people and groups in this country, including EPA,