President Gotabaya rajapaksha was forced to impose an economic emergency on 31st August to contain soaring food inflation and currency devaluation and forex reserve crisis.
This overnight flip to total organic farming imposememt led to an economic disaster to the country. It was already in struggle to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Dwindling foreign exchange reserves,sinking currency and soaring food inflation have come together to create a crisis which is unprecedented even by the record of the Isla nation that was torn by civil war in the earlier decades.
The surge in food prices and fear of hoarding of essential food items was the last straw that forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to impose the economic emergency on 31st August under the public security ordinance. On 29th April Rajapaksha’s govt bans the import of chemical fertilizers and any other agrochemicals to make Indian Ocean nation the first in the world to practice organic farming.
It resulted in prices of daily of food items like sugar,rice and onions have soared over twice with sugar touching the record of ₹200/Kg;kerosene oil and cooking gas prices are surging;tea crops are predicted to fail and there are fears over to hit to production of other crucial export crops like cinnamon,pepper,rubber,cloves,cardamom,betel leaves,nutmeg,vanilla,cocoa etc.
According to the Sri Lankan government two primary reasons have driven the inflation i.e hoarding of food items and crashing of tourism due to pandemic,the dip in tourism hit the forex reserves.
According to locals “The ban has driven the tea industry into complete disarray,if we go completely organic we will lose 50% of crop but we’re not going to get 50% higher prices
It is also found that 44% farmers are experiencing a decline in harvests and 85% expecting a fall in future.
With the shift from chemical to organic cultivation,the country needs a large domestic production of organic fertilizers and biological fertilizers. Moreover organic farming has exponentially higher monetary input costs due to lack of usage of pests and pathogen resistant chemicals which increases manual labour,experts say the additional processing and marketing costs of organic produce is also significantly higher.