Sri Lanka abandoned its quest to become the world’s first completely organic farming nation on Sunday, announcing it would immediately lift an import ban on pesticides and other agricultural inputs.
The island country has been in the grips of a severe economic crisis, with a lack of foreign exchange triggering shortages of food, crude oil and other essential goods.
Authorities had already walked back restrictions on fertilizer imports last month for tea, the country’s main export earner.
But ahead of planned farmer protests in the capital, Sri Lanka’s Agricultural Ministry said it would end a broader ban on all agrochemicals, including herbicides and pesticides. “We will now allow chemical inputs that are urgently needed,” Ministry secretary Udith Jayasinghe told the private News First TV network.