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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sri Lanka’s agricultural scientific community predicts substantial yield losses in agricultural production due to Govt’s new policy.

Image courtesy of Northern Provincial Council. 

In a letter requesting an urgent meeting with president Rajapaksa, members of the community of senior agricultural scientists, academics and professionals in the country have “predict substantial yield losses due to lack of suitable substitutes for chemical fertilizers and pesticides following the abrupt ban of the importation of inorganic fertilizers and other agrochemicals. This could severely impact food security, farmers’ income, foreign exchange earnings and the nutrition of a vast segment of the people of the country with pernicious far-reaching social, economic and political implications.”

It provides an estimated loss of production in specific areas.

“Crop Predicted loss of production (%, approx.)
Tea up to 50
Paddy 30-35
Maize up to 50
Potato 30-50
Sugarcane 30-40
Cinnamon 25
Betel 206
Upcountry vegetables 30-50
Floriculture/foliage plants environment almost 100
Controlled environment agriculture/Hydroponics almost 100″

The letter, which is attached below, further says that:

In these circumstances, a prudent approach would be to move towards a more eco-friendly and sustainable food system using a judicious combination of organic and inorganic plant nutrients with a progressive reduction in the use of inorganic fertilizer over time. The aim should be to strike the right balance between inorganic and organic fertilizers, while at the same time stringently regulating and restricting the import and use of agrochemicals as done in many developed countries in the world. The aim, in other words, should be optimum production with minimal harmful effects on people and the environment. A gradual approach will be wise to avert short term crises.

As members of the community of senior agricultural scientists, academics and professionals in the country representing a significant section of the community, we affirm our resolute and unwavering commitment to promoting eco-friendly sustainable agriculture in our motherland.

We are also fully aware and conscious of our bounden duty and moral obligation to the country and its people at this crucial juncture exacerbated by the current pandemic, and declare our commitment to mobilizing and channeling to the fullest the scientific and intellectual resources and assets to formulate a pragmatic and realistic road map and an actionable strategic plan to achieve the above objective.

Read the full letter here: Report for His Excellency – Organic fertilizer

Therefore, while reiterating our fullest support and cooperation to Your Excellency to build an eco-friendly sustainable agriculture in Sri Lanka, we wish to discuss with Your Excellency about how agricultural scientists and professionals could more effectively contribute to the above objective in keeping with the national policy, and would appreciate it very much if we are granted an early opportunity for such discussion.

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