WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, authored an opinion piece published in Agri-Pulse that spotlights how poor agriculture policy decisions by Sri Lankan leadership played a large role in the government’s collapse.
“Much of the coverage surrounding the Sri Lankan crisis explains the fall of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government in terms of runaway inflation, rolling blackouts and a debt default that created a financial catastrophe in a nation that had achieved upper-middle-income status just a few short years ago. While each of these events played a significant role in Sri Lanka’s collapse, there’s also an angle that has been largely overlooked in Western media reports. Rajapaksa’s dramatic fall from grace is an allegory for leaders who fail to understand modern agricultural production.,” Boozman wrote.
That overlooked angle, laid out by Boozman, is Rajapaksa’s ill-advised decision to force Sri Lankan agricultural producers to only use organic methods and his ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and conventional pesticides.
“What stands out about Sri Lanka’s plight is that it was largely brought about by its own leadership’s shortsighted decisions. I know you’re thinking, that could never happen in America. Let me tell you, it absolutely can if we continue to shy away from science being the cornerstone of our regulatory structure,” Boozman wrote.
His piece concludes with a warning: “There are many lessons to learn from Sri Lanka’s catastrophe. Let’s not ignore the obvious one. Policies that fail to take into consideration crop health and yields should be off the table,” Boozman wrote.
Boozman’s op-ed in its entirety is available online here: https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/18135-opinion-sri-lanka-a-cautionary-tale