Sri Lankan minister forced to flee as farmers protest visit: report

0


Sri Lankan Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera was taunted on Saturday by a group of farmers who protested his visit to an agriculture-related program in Tissamaharama, a town in the country’s southern province, in Hambantota district, forcing him to flee the scene.

Amaraweera visited the Tissamaharama divisional secretariat on Saturday to attend an agriculture-related program. Upon arrival, a group of angry locals, mostly farmers, gathered in front of the local government body and staged a protest, according to web portal newsfirst.lk.

When the minister attempted to investigate, chaos erupted, forcing the minister to flee the scene, the report added.

Sri Lanka’s economic collapse has wreaked havoc on the agricultural sector.

A blanket ban on the use of chemical fertilizers imposed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in April 2021 has dealt a crippling blow to rice production in the country.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has predicted that by September this year around four to five million of the country’s 22 million people could be directly affected by the food shortage.

In such a grim scenario, farmers across the island nation have been forced to abandon their fields.

Earlier this week, the Cabinet also approved a decision to grant government officials one week off for the next three months to engage in farming to ease the approaching food crisis.

The Sri Lankan military will also participate in an agricultural campaign aimed at cultivating more than 1,500 acres of barren or abandoned state land to multiply food production and avoid any shortages in the future, newsfirst.lk reported.

Sri Lanka, which is facing its worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948.

The economic crisis has led to severe shortages of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas, fuel and toilet paper, with Sri Lankans forced to queue for hours outside shops to buy fuel and cooking gas.

The country on the verge of bankruptcy, with an acute currency crisis that led to a default on external debt payments, announced in April that it was suspending the repayment of nearly $7 billion in external debt due for this year on approximately $25 billion due through 2026.

Sri Lanka’s total external debt stands at $51 billion.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear reader,

Business Standard has always endeavored to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that matter to you and that have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your constant encouragement and feedback on how to improve our offering has only strengthened our resolve and commitment to these ideals. Even in these challenging times stemming from Covid-19, we remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative opinions and incisive commentary on relevant topical issues.
However, we have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more so that we can continue to bring you more great content. Our subscription model has received an encouraging response from many of you who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of bringing you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practice the journalism we are committed to.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

digital editor

Share.

Comments are closed.