President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday, April 29, said that Sri Lanka would be the first in the world to eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers.
President Rajapaksa said they would not change the decision later and the farmers needed to be educated on the need to move away from toxic fertilizers and the potential of sustainable methods of agriculture.
The President said, “We need to raise public awareness of the ban on import of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides and their use. The people have a right to consume safe food. The National Policy Framework ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ also promised to accelerate the production of organic fertilizers in the next decade so that only organic fertilizer will be used in the agricultural field of Sri Lanka”.
“Sri Lanka had spent USD 221 million in 2019 on chemical fertilizer imports, and with the rise in prices of oil, that cost would have increased to USD 300-400 million this year,” the President said, pointing out that despite huge expenditure on chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, there had been no qualitative improvement in agricultural production.
“We see increasingly reduced yields as soil becomes increasingly infertile due to chemical fertilizer and the destruction of biodiversity. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides pollutes rivers and streams and poses a serious challenge to quality drinking water. The government expenditure on non-communicable diseases including kidney disease and cancer, is rising every year. The loss of livelihoods of the people living in rural areas, deteriorating health conditions and the declining of people’s productivity, have become challenges the country is facing today,” the President also said.