Partial Ban on Chemical Fertilizers Cause Crisis in Sri Lanka

Partial Ban on Chemical Fertilizers Cause Crisis in Sri Lanka
The sudden banning of chemical fertilization in Sri Lanka has left farmers frustrated, Farming First. 


Malene Solheim

Sri Lanka and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defensce.

The Sri Lankan government has partly prohibited the use of chemical fertilisation in agricultural production, leaving unprepared farmers in crisis. The abrupt banning of chemical fertilization has caused a sudden shortage of food, causing prices of common food commodities, such as rice and vegetables, to soar (New York Times, 2021).  

The government’s campaign of banning the use of some chemical fertilizers is based on studies showing the negative health consequences of its overuse. Additionally, environmental degradation is also linked to the use of fertilizers (New York Times, 2021). However, most of today’s global production has been adjusted and is therefore dependent on the use of chemical fertilization. This sudden ban in Sri Lanka has made it impossible for farmers to maintain the level of production, causing a shortage in food production, and thus a soaring of prices on food (The Hindu, 2021).. 

Initially, the government wanted to completely ban the use of chemical fertilization, but due to a big backlash following the sudden ban, the government adjusted the ban to apply to only some types (The Hindu, 2021). This allowed for production of tea, the country’s biggest export, to be maintained at the same level by the use of fertilization. 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left Sri Lanka in an economic recession as tourism almost completely stopped and exports decreased. This ban has only deepened this economic crisis as some foods have doubled in price as a result (The Hindu, 2021). 

Sources and further reading:

Sri Lanka’s Plunge Into Organic Farming Brings Disaster, 7 December 2021, 

Sri Lanka revokes ban on fertilizers, 21 November 2021,