Sri Lankan Government decision to ban chemical fertilizers has drawn a severe criticism across the nation. News agency on Sunday reported the statement made by Udith Jayasinghe, Secretary to the Agriculture Ministry that the government would immediately allow import of chemical fertilizer, effectively reversing its controversial decision in May 2021 banning it.
It was not just the bureaucrat who indicated a policy reversal, but also State Minister of Agriculture Shasheendra Rajapaksa, a nephew of the President, who told media that the restrictions on the use of chemical fertilizer would be lifted, except for paddy cultivation. Sri Lanka’s main Opposition party even hailed it as a victory for the farmers’ protests in the country.
However, following a “special discussion” Monday morning with subject ministers and district officials, President Rajapaksa “stressed that the country’s agriculture policy is only for a green agriculture that focuses on the sole use of organic fertilizers”, a statement from the Presidential Media Division said. Subsidies would be provided only for organic farming, he said.
Commenting on the farmer protests across the country, President Rajapaksa said: “the reason behind farmers organising protests and delaying cultivation was that they have not been properly educated.” Officials should work to find answers for the agitating farmers, in accordance with the government’s green agriculture policy, the President said, adding that officials who do not agree with government policy were free to leave, according to the statement released by his office.