Is organic farming to blame for Sri Lanka’s crisis? (Atlanta Business Journal)
- Impact Area
The political right and others are seizing on the country’s banning of chemical fertilizers as the proximate culprit that led to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa turning over his palace to protesters last week, writes the Atlanta Business Journal in an article on the food security crisis in Sri Lanka. The journal disagrees with where the blame lies. The problem is more complicated. While Rajapaksa’s abrupt ban on chemical fertilizers did jolt farmers, yields didn’t fall so precipitously that it would have dented exports that much, says David Laborde, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
The bigger issue is that Covid-19 sent droves of overseas workers home to Sri Lanka. Money sent home by Sri Lankans working abroad normally totals about $6 billion per year, well above the $1.2 billion that comes from tea, the country’s largest cash crop.
“The remittances shock is several orders of magnitude bigger than the worst scenario we can imagine about tea,” Laborde said.