The New Humanitarian
published an article
stating that against the backdrop of the pandemic and climate shocks, revenue from tourism and remittances has plunged. With utility bills and medicine costs also rising, the five employees she manages – each earns about 50,000 rupees a month – are all struggling to feed their families. Sources also told the US Department of Agriculture that the fertilizer import bill in 2021 could reach $300-$400 million and the government was aiming to generate “significant import cost savings” by limiting or banning it. “This may well be the reason why the ban was imposed so suddenly, with no preparation of support systems for alternative forms of production, and for food reserves to tide over food shortages. Senior research fellow Devesh Roy
said typically, conversion to organic farming takes about seven years, including purging the soil of traces of chemicals. Roy believes urgent steps are needed. He said that reining in this “cascade of crises”, further worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, requires urgent measures across multiple areas. He added, “It’s also crucial to assist micro-, small- and medium-sized food enterprises, as they are key growth engines and important employers of women.” This includes rolling back high import taxes and restrictions levied on both agricultural inputs.