A webinar series on a Sri Lankan model of organic farming | Sunday Observer

A webinar series on a Sri Lankan model of organic farming

17 October, 2021

Renaissance Sri Lanka, MONLAR and Greenfem launched a live webinar series on agroecology, hosted via Renaissance Sri Lanka’s “Kumbuk” online networking platform on October 9.

The series runs every Saturday, until October 30, from 6.00pm to 7.30pm. It highlights the importance of organic farming with the aim of contributing to a people-friendly green revolution in Sri Lanka.

After World War II, a ‘green revolution’ was launched globally to increase food production to meet the population’s requirements. The traditional Asian farming methods were transformed into an advanced, scientific agricultural system by the 1960s. Hybrid seeds that produce high yields were introduced, but they highly depended on agrochemicals, resulting in a threat to the people, animals and environment.  

The agricultural system introduced by the green revolution created a mass of socio-economic, health and environmental problems. It failed to fulfil the promise of safeguarding small food producers and minimising rural poverty. Guaranteeing access to food for all, alleviating hunger and malnutrition are other issues yet to be resolved.

In April 2021, the Government implemented a decision to banning chemical fertiliser and converting the country’s agricultural system into organic farming. This decision astonished many who had been used to the lavish use of chemical fertiliser and pesticides after the green revolution in Sri Lanka in the 1970s that introduced and promoted agro-technology.  

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called upon the people’s representatives to educate the public on the benefits of using organic fertiliser despite the challenges in the transition period.  

The dialogue in the society on organic farming polarised heavily with the sudden government decision of banning chemical fertiliser entirely. One sector advocated for systematic transition to organic farming due to the challenge of achieving targets of mass-scale food production. The other section opined that the space opened by the decision should be used to convert the agricultural system into organic farming.   

The organisations, farmers and citizens who have been using agroecology farming methods welcomed the government decision with the hope of creating a sustainable agricultural system in the country.