Rajapaksa's growing militarisation of Sri Lanka: now army to ‘enlighten’ farmers on organic farming

From controlling the pandemic to stopping hoarding of food and essentials, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapksa’s fascination for using the country’s armed forces in every crisis is no secret

Jan 08, 2022
Image
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapksa

From controlling the pandemic to stopping hoarding of food and essentials, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapksa’s fascination for using the country’s armed forces in every crisis is no secret. Rights activists have long warned about the growing militarization of civic affairs in the island country.

In yet another instance, President Gotabaya Rajapaksas on Friday said the Sri Lanka Army will now “enlighten” farmers on applying organic fertilizers in fields. Last year he had announced a ban on chemical fertilizers, turning the country, almost overnight, into an organic utopia.

What started as a green agriculture policy later turned into a severe farm crisis—one that the Rajapaksa government refuses to acknowledge. [read more]

Overnight switch to organic caught farmers and the government both unprepared, as both struggled to procure organic fertilizers, resulting in a steep decline in yield and subsequently productivity. In fact, many have already suggested the food shortage is imminent in the coming weeks. [read more]

On Friday, Rajapaksa said the government will deploy the army during the upcoming Yala season (May to August) to educate the public on how to apply organic fertilizer. “The army gives vaccinations and the army gives fertilizers. Why is that? The military is trained to work as a team,” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying by Colombopage.  

Despite growing anger among the public due to the disastrous consequences of the organic policy, Rajapaksa defended his government.

“Organic fertilizer is not a compost made from leaves. Today organic fertilizer is used in many advanced countries,” he said, adding, “There are a large number of farmers in our country who cultivate Tea, vegetables, rice in every field using organic fertilizer. Unfortunately, we were not able to take this knowledge to the farmers in the end.”

The island country has been facing one of its worst economic crises in history, amid a severe shortage of foreign reserves. In November, its forex was just $1.5 billion. It has reached a point where the government has been struggling to even import essentials like fuels, food, and medicines. [read more]

The assurance to deploy the army to “enlighten” the public about organic fertilizer is yet another sign of desperation. Last year, when the prices of essential items skyrocketed, Rajapaksa ordered his generals to raid warehouses to check hoardings. However, in the crises like this, the army could do little to increase the yield.

(SAM)

Tweets about SAMonitor
SAM Facebook

Newsletter Subscription

The subscriber's email address.
Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
NEWS BEHIND THE NEWS (NbN)