Science

Sri Lanka reauthorizes chemicals in agriculture to avoid economic crisis

In the midst of the economic and food crisis, Sri Lanka abandoned its program on Sunday to become the world’s leading producer of 100% organic food. “We will now allow urgently needed chemical inputs,” ministry secretary Udith Jayasinghe told privately owned News First. The government also announced the immediate lifting of the import ban on pesticides and other agricultural inputs.

A decision that comes as farmers’ organizations planned to march towards Parliament in the capital, Colombo. “In view of the need to ensure food safety,” all agrochemicals are now allowed, including herbicides and pesticides. Sri Lanka is particularly the victim of a sharp decline in its foreign exchange reserves that has led to shortages of food, crude oil and other basic products. Last month, the authorities had already lifted restrictions on imports of fertilizers for tea, the country’s main export product.

Following the import ban, which was first introduced in May, large tracts of agricultural land were abandoned. The shortage has worsened over the past week as prices for rice, vegetables and other staples have doubled across the country. Supermarkets have also rationed rice sales, allowing just five kilograms per customer.

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