Photos: For Sri Lankan farmers, president’s escape is bittersweet | Agriculture News

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose clan’s alleged corruption and mismanagement plunged Sri Lanka into break after a two-decade-long maintain over Sri Lankan politics, has escaped the nation.

For the island’s bankrupted farmers, the autumn of the Rajapaksa dynasty has a bitter-sweet style.

“My nation could be very lovely however politicians destroy it,” mentioned Rohan Thilak Gurusinghe, a tea farmer in Kandy district, certainly one of Sri Lanka’s tea-growing strongholds.

Strolling throughout his distressed tea property, Gurusinghe expresses unhappiness over the collapse of his as soon as flourishing enterprise.

“Six workers used to work right here however I needed to let go three of them as farming yields had crashed,” he informed Al Jazeera.

The manufacturing of rice, one other staple, additionally dropped by 40 % in the course of the rising season that resulted in March. The island is now gearing up for a 60 % drop in rice yields throughout Yala, essentially the most vital cultivating season in Sri Lanka that lasts until August.

On the root of the issue lies a controversial in a single day ban on chemical fertilisers by the Rajapaksa authorities in April final yr in a bid to make agriculture totally natural.

“We informed the federal government a sudden ban on fertilisers would destroy our earnings however nobody listened to us, even much less so the president who is aware of nothing about agriculture. It took them months to grasp their mistake, that’s insane,” Gurusinghe informed Al Jazeera.

In April this yr, a yr for the reason that ban, President Rajapaksa admitted that the abrupt transfer was a “mistake”.

The collapse of Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector and the $4.4bn tourism trade in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic had been early warning indicators of an impending disaster.

The island of twenty-two million folks ran out of international trade reserves within the following months and couldn’t pay for imports of gas and different necessities, together with fertilisers, the bedrock of agriculture.

As gas reserves dried up, folks started to queue up, generally for days, hoping to get just a few litres of petrol. Skyrocketing inflation kicked in – reaching 55 % in June – and determined Sri Lankan farmers lastly hit the streets as soon as once more, forcing the president to flee.