Food shortage threatens Sri Lanka – As the island nation confronts a terrible economic crisis, Sri Lanka’s prime minister has warned of food scarcity, promising that the government will buy enough fertilizer for the next planting season to enhance output.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to restrict all chemical fertilizers in April last year dramatically reduced output, and while the government has now lifted the embargo, no significant imports have yet occurred.
“While there may not be time to obtain fertilizer for this Yala (May-August) season, steps are being taken to ensure adequate stocks for the Maha (September-March) season,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a message on Twitter late on Thursday.
“I sincerely urge everyone to accept the gravity of the … situation,” he added.
Sri Lanka is facing a dire shortage of foreign exchange, fuel, and medicines, and economic activity has slowed to a crawl.
“There is no point in talking about how hard life is,” said A.P.D. Sumanavathi, a 60-year-old woman selling fruit and vegetables in the Pettah market in Colombo, the commercial capital, on Friday. “I can’t predict how things will be in two months, at this rate we might not even be here.
Nearby, a long queue had formed in front of a shop selling cooking gas cylinders, the prices of which have soared.
“Only about 200 cylinders were delivered, even though there were about 500 people,” said Mohammad Shazly, a part-time chauffeur who said he was standing in the line for the third day to be able to cook food for a family of five.
“Without gas, without kerosene oil, we can’t do anything,” he said. “Last option what? Without food we are going to die. That will happen hundred percent.”