Flindt on Friday: Sri Lanka farming fail is warning for all

Five thousand miles away, one thing very important is occurring. It’s a narrative that has gone all however unnoticed right here, however has huge significance for farmers and meals customers; in different phrases, all of us.

I confess I do know little or no about Sri Lanka. There had been characters in my childhood who had been as soon as “tea planters” in what was then Ceylon.

They had a thousand-yard stare and had been spoken about in hushed tones, virtually like Lloyds Names of the Eighties, as if nice misfortune had fallen upon them.

See additionally: A information to the up to date autumn manure spreading guidelines

About the creator

Charlie Flindt

Charlie Flindt is a tenant of the National Trust, farming 380ha in Hampshire together with his spouse, Hazel. He’s a weekly columnist writing for Farmers Weekly and by no means fails to boost a couple of eyebrows and tickle a couple of humorous bones together with his hilarious musings concerning the farming world.

I do know Sri Lanka shook up the cricket world with their revolutionary method to run chases, and managed to get the foundations on arm flexing rewritten – however that’s about it.

But I’m now watching the Pearl of the Indian Ocean with nice curiosity – and disappointment.

On 26 April 2021, with a lot fanfare, the Sri Lankan authorities introduced a ban on all chemical fertiliser, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Echoes of Eustice

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s justification appears awfully acquainted. “The authorities should assure the fitting of the individuals to a non-toxic weight loss plan,” he mentioned.

The time had come to finish “soil infertility”, “declining yields” and “lack of biodiversity”.

The president additionally said that “the federal government will straight intervene to supply all needed services to the producers to encourage the manufacturing of natural fertiliser on the district stage”, in response to the Newsfirst web site.

Wasn’t that the identical script because the one handed to George Eustice? Sri Lanka could be the primary nation to introduce “give them what they need’ farming. “Them” being the environmentalists.

As The Times defined final month, the ban “was made not on the behest of neoliberal economists… however relatively on the recommendation of environmentalists within the title of sustainable agriculture.”

Gosh, that sounds acquainted.

What may go fallacious? As it occurred, relatively so much.

The Times went on: “That technique backfired in spectacular vogue. Domestic rice manufacturing fell by 14% from 2021 to 2022, forcing the nation, lengthy self-sufficient in rice manufacturing, to import lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of rice… the ban decimated tea manufacturing, resulting in a $425m (£340m) financial loss to the trade in its first six months of implementation.”

And let’s face it, The Times is no buddy of recent farming.

Sri Lankan protestors

Protesters participate in an anti-government demonstration outdoors the Sri Lanka police headquarters in Colombo sixteenth May, 2022 © Pacific Press Media Production Corp/Alamy Stock-Photo

Civil unrest

A 12 months on from the ban, a Sri Lankan delegation could possibly be discovered on the International Monetary Fund’s door, determined for a monumental monetary lifeline.

On the island itself, there are shortages, riots, curfews, looting, and the army ordered to shoot on sight. The authorities is in chaos, with the prime minster resigning.

There are rumours of martial regulation and an imminent army coup. It’s not fairly.

Yes, it’s true that worldwide occasions (Covid, Ukraine) have had an impact on the island’s economic system, simply as they’ve on economies all world wide.

But let’s let The Times clarify it as merely as is potential: “What turned Sri Lanka’s financial state of affairs from tough to catastrophic was the choice by the Rajapaksa authorities to implement a nationwide ban on artificial fertiliser.”

Scarcely every week goes by with out the anti-chemical brigade sounding off concerning the evils of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers.

The issues of the world would all be solved with out them, they declare – one letter on this journal pleaded for the tip of all fossil fuels. (One assumes it was written on parchment utilizing a quill, relatively than a fossil fuel-fuelled pc.)

Perhaps they need to pause for a second, and forged their offended eyes midway around the world, and research part of the world that has taken the plunge into giving them “what they need”. It may make them suppose once more.

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