Sri Lanka – Farmers express concern about the availability of chemical fertilizers

105

Location: Dabulla – Sri Lanka

Language: Sinhala

Duration: 00:04:15

Source: A24

Restrictions: A24 Subscribers

Dateline: 10-05-2022

Storyline:

Farmers’ organizations in Sri Lanka are lamenting that so far no fertilizers have been made available for free or for cash although the government has promised to provide them with chemical fertilizers as soon as possible.

For the farmers of Sri Lanka, their problems began in April last year when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa implemented a sudden ban on chemical fertilizers, switching to organic farming.

Throughout the past few months, farmers have staged protest marches across the country, calling for a resumption of chemical fertilizer imports.

They have also demanded that their crop damages, particularly those caused to paddy cultivations, due to the fertilizer issue, be compensated.

The mass protests forced Sri Lankan President to regret the decision to ban chemical fertilizers in 2020, which resulted in massive drop in food production.

The president termed his ban decision a mistake and that corrective steps were being taken now.

Experts noted that the lack of chemical fertilizers had a huge impact on crops, especially on corn, which is highly affected by growth of weeds.

The farmers of Sri Lanka are now turning into labourers due to failed policies of the government. Two million farmers in Sri Lanka were left in misery with no help. Reportedly, the domestic rice production was reduced by more than 20 per cent.

Fertilizer prices have gone up by seven folds, and farmers no longer receive subsidies. A 50kg of fertilizer was 6000 rupees in the past. Now it is over 45,000 rupees.

Shots list:

– ( Soundbite ) (R Susantha – farmers’ union leader)

“In the future farmers all over the country will protest together. Even then the authorities will pay attention to this. There will be a severe food shortage in the country. Please give us fertilizer.”

– ( Soundbite ) (K Sugathapala – farmers’ union leader)

” There are about 3000 farming families in our area. All of them are participating in the protest today. Now, the new growing season has begun. But we have no fertilizers, agrochemicals, etc. We’re asking the rulers again to pay attention to this. Starvation is coming to the country in a few days. With that our country’s situation will be more difficult.”

– ( Soundbite )  (K Sugathapala – farmers’ union leader)

“We shall not give up this fight. we need fertiliser. we need pesticides. we need fuel. we will have to continue the fight.”

– Various shots of the ‘K Sugathapala – farmers’ union leader’

– ( Soundbite ) (R M Wimalawathi – farmer)

” Although we could receive 110 sacks of rice in the previous years, only 55 sacks were harvested this year. The others also received about 35-40 sacks. Our expenses cannot be covered with such a small harvest.”

Closeup-

“We didn’t receive any assistance from anyone before. All our needs were covered by the income earned through plantations. But today it is not possible to sell a kilo of paddy and buy even a bar of soap.”

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