On April 22, 2021, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa introduced a ban on the importation of chemical fertiliser to make Sri Lanka “the very first nation in the globe to be free of chemical fertiliser”. The conclusion was handed into law by a gazette released by the Finance Ministry on Could 06, 2021.
Verité Analysis done an all-island cell phone survey between farmers from July 01 to 10, 2021, to discover out the views of the farmers and the effects of the selection. The study protected all nine provinces and bundled 1,042 farmers cultivating all major crops: paddy, fruits, greens, coconut, tea, minor export crops (spices) and cereal.
The survey experienced four major results that have been essential for the choice-building of the government: (1) farmers have been broadly supportive of the authorities plan to changeover to natural fertiliser on the other hand, farmers: (2) predicted substantial reduction in harvest less than current limits, (3) lacked know-how as well as resources of understanding to transition to organic and natural farming and (4) needed additional time to make the changeover.
The study findings instructed, over-all, that Sri Lankan policymakers should really try to avert a plan-induced shortage in agriculture output and foodstuff manufacturing by considering the pragmatic views of the farmers, most of whom are supportive of the government’s chemical fertiliser-free of charge agriculture plan. Failing to do so will more aggravate the pains brought about by the pandemic.
Context of new fertiliser policy
The dependence of farmers on chemical fertiliser was large (according to the survey responses). More than 90 per cent of the farmers surveyed use chemical fertiliser. For a greater part of them (76 per cent), chemical fertiliser accounts for a lot more than fifty percent of their whole fertiliser usage. Paddy farmers, who give the nation with rice, its staple food, are the highest buyers of chemical fertiliser (94 percent).
Broad guidance for organic fertiliser policy
At the time the study was done (i.e., two months soon after the ban was released), the assistance among the farmers for the federal government coverage was superior. Practically two-thirds agreed that the region need to transition into organic and natural agriculture: 64 % of the farmers surveyed answered “yes” to the question “Do you agree that Sri Lanka should transition to 100 p.c organic agriculture?”
Vast majority of farmers be expecting next harvest to reduce nearly by 50 percent
Even at the time the survey was done, the ban experienced established a shortage of chemical fertiliser in the industry, denying the farmers the required amount of fertiliser. Sixty-3 per cent of farmers surveyed stated “yes” when asked in July 2021, no matter if they have been compelled to decrease the amount of chemical fertiliser utilised in the present-day/most-the latest cultivation cycle in comparison to standard utilization. Nearly 50 percent of these surveyed (44 p.c) claimed that the current in general reductions designed in chemical fertiliser and/or agrochemicals negatively afflicted their most-recent harvest.
When asked what they believe would be the long run effects on harvest/quantity produced, if they could not use chemical fertiliser or agrochemicals, an mind-boggling the vast majority (85 %) stated that they expected a reduction in their long run harvest. Fifty percent of the farmers surveyed predicted the harvest to reduce by much more than 40 per cent (Show 1).
Deficiency of information and guidance
The survey located that the farmers lacked the required expertise and direction on chemical fertiliser-cost-free agriculture. Although 35 p.c of the farmers thought they had satisfactory information to cultivate without having chemical fertiliser, when that team was probed even further, only 23 per cent explained they were being also knowledgeable of the suited natural choices for their crops and only 20 p.c mentioned they also knew how to correctly use the suitable organic fertiliser (Exhibit 2).
When questioned irrespective of whether they have been given advice/instructions on how to have interaction in agriculture without the need of working with chemical fertiliser or agrochemicals, just about two-thirds of the farmers (63 %) claimed “no”. Above 50 % of the farmers mentioned “no” when questioned no matter if they know people today with understanding and expertise who can suggest them on how to cultivate without using any chemical fertiliser or agrochemicals.
Farmers have to have much more time and govt. assistance to transition
Nearly two-thirds of the farmers agreed that Sri Lanka should really changeover to 100 p.c natural and organic agriculture. However, when requested how considerably time they require to effectively changeover to 100 percent natural agriculture, 78 percent of all those who supported the coverage said they need additional than a 12 months to changeover.
In response to the issue “what advise/recommendations will you give to the federal government on transitioning to organic agriculture correctly?”, the following a few requests topped the record: 1) additional time to make the transition, 2) needed assistance/directions and 3) standardised organic and natural options.
The voice of the farmers captured in this study exposed that a greater part of them had been not inquiring for a adjust in coverage but inquiring for an adoption of a more pragmatic technique in the manner the plan was currently being applied.
The study findings had been an early warning sent to the government by farmers of a attainable foodstuff scarcity. Sri Lanka would do effectively to avert a plan-induced foods lack by taking take note of these early warnings and the pragmatic requests by the farmers for more time and guidance in employing the transition towards organic and natural fertiliser.