A national agricultural policy is vital to prevent a shortage of food and an escalation of prices of most consumer goods in the future, said food and agri-sector experts.
“We have been cautioning policymakers to pay close attention to the grave issues faced by farmers who have been clamouring for fertiliser for a long time but to no avail.
“With each inch of arable land being abandoned the country is in for a food crisis in the future,” said an agri sector expert.
When contacted, farmer organisation representatives said most farmers in the North Central Province have decided to abandon farming and move on to some other income source due to the absence of fertiliser. “We neither have organic or inorganic fertiliser resulting in large swaths of farm-lands being abandoned,” they said.
Crop experts have been hinting that Sri Lanka’s food security will be affected if no speedy action is taken to solve the fertiliser issue. A crop scientist said that there is no country that has succeeded by using only organic fertiliser. It has always been a combination of organic and inorganic to meet the demands of the rising population. Farmers have been battered by an absence of fertiliser and the growing pest menace that destroys a sizeable extent of the crops each year.
The persisting elephant encroachments, attacks from wild boars, monkeys, peacocks and in recent times the invasion of the ‘Sena’ caterpillar have ravaged the agri sector which is the life blood of the economy. Farmer organisation heads said there needs to be people who know the subject at decision making points to ensure there are no ad hoc measures to steer the sector.