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Organic farming has bankrupted Sri Lanka

Protesters storming the president’s residence in Colombo

“Sri Lanka has fallen,” says Michael Shellenberger in his Substack newsletter. Over the weekend, protesters stormed the official residences of the PM and president, both of whom are stepping down. With inflation soaring – over 50% in June – millions are struggling to buy fuel, food and medicine. The nation is effectively bankrupt. Covid is partly to blame: lockdowns hammered the tourism industry. But the main cause is that Sri Lanka’s leaders “fell under the spell of Western green elites” peddling organic farming. In a bid to boost its “Environmental, Social and Governance” credentials – and backed by the likes of the EU and the World Bank – the government banned chemical fertilisers in April 2021.

The results were catastrophic. Some 85% of Sri Lanka’s farmers experienced crop losses. Rice production fell 20%, meaning the country had to import $450m of a food in which it had previously been self-sufficient. Carrot and tomato prices rose five-fold. Production of tea – its biggest agricultural export – declined 18% in four months, “reaching its lowest level in 23 years”. And all for what? Because right-on Western policymakers have the dangerous misconception that “artificial” chemicals must be terrible for the environment. They’re not. Fertiliser increases crop yields, reducing the amount of land required for farming. And high-yield farming is much better for the soil: “the rate of soil loss is twice as high in developing nations as in developed ones”. Sri Lanka’s now-deposed leaders, and their idiotic overseas backers, should be ashamed.