Switch to organic farming causes chaos in Sri Lanka

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Interesting stuff going on in Sri Lanka right now, back in April the government unilaterally declared that all farming was to become organic, and outlawed the importation of agro-chemicals and artificial fertilisers. This has resulted in rampant food price inflation as crop yields are set to halve and created an economic crisis, with falling foreign exchange reserves and a falling currency value which is also raising prices of all imported goods. The government has now been forced to declare a state of public emergency and has started to take control of all food supplies.

A lesson for all those organic zealots who tell us it could feed the world........

 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
Interesting stuff going on in Sri Lanka right now, back in April the government unilaterally declared that all farming was to become organic, and outlawed the importation of agro-chemicals and artificial fertilisers. This has resulted in rampant food price inflation as crop yields are set to halve and created an economic crisis, with falling foreign exchange reserves and a falling currency value which is also raising prices of all imported goods. The government has now been forced to declare a state of public emergency and has started to take control of all food supplies.

A lesson for all those organic zealots who tell us it could feed the world........

Forget organic or wilding we are entering a period of politically induced food shortages around the world with rising prices so be careful what you agree to sign up to!
 
Interesting stuff going on in Sri Lanka right now, back in April the government unilaterally declared that all farming was to become organic, and outlawed the importation of agro-chemicals and artificial fertilisers. This has resulted in rampant food price inflation as crop yields are set to halve and created an economic crisis, with falling foreign exchange reserves and a falling currency value which is also raising prices of all imported goods. The government has now been forced to declare a state of public emergency and has started to take control of all food supplies.

A lesson for all those organic zealots who tell us it could feed the world........


I'm not involved with organic, I am steering my farm on a course away from chemicals. I've commented on this article elsewhere, the first thought that struck me was "ffs, did nothing grow in the world before chemicals". From a farming perspective I find it sad, and not in a way Trump might use the word.

There's a lot of verbage and little detail, on practices for instance, there's also a narrative saying there's chem ag OR organic and nothing else.

The one gripe which stands up, from my reading anyway, is that the candidate came in on pro chemical platform, then did a fast U turn to this situation today. Agree or disagree with chems, it's obvious to anyone that a lead in time is necessary for any move away from chemical, or the system crashes.

Rather than have a go at any system I'd say this situation has been brought about by an age old problem, a f**king politician.
 
Location
Devon
I don't think the message from this is that organic is bad. The message is that you have to provide incentives to shift things in any desired direction. Overnight bans to achieve any goal let alone an ill-conceived one is doomed to fail or cause significant issues.
To be fair to the Sri Lankan government, they were at least trying to serve the interests of its people and farmers unlike India who are doing the opposite.
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
I'm not involved with organic, I am steering my farm on a course away from chemicals. I've commented on this article elsewhere, the first thought that struck me was "ffs, did nothing grow in the world before chemicals". From a farming perspective I find it sad, and not in a way Trump might use the word.

There's a lot of verbage and little detail, on practices for instance, there's also a narrative saying there's chem ag OR organic and nothing else.

The one gripe which stands up, from my reading anyway, is that the candidate came in on pro chemical platform, then did a fast U turn to this situation today. Agree or disagree with chems, it's obvious to anyone that a lead in time is necessary for any move away from chemical, or the system crashes.

Rather than have a go at any system I'd say this situation has been brought about by an age old problem, a f**king politician.
Yes stuff grew before but it was when a very high proportion of a much much smaller population worked on the land and yields were a tiny fraction of today's yields per acre while also being less reliable. What I mean by 'less reliable' is that some years the crops would be devastated by pests or diseases or fungal infections which would either result in insufficient crop for even the relatively tiny population, and/or the crops not surviving storage over Winter, either rotting away or going mouldy and, if eaten in desperation, would be poisonous. Ergo poisoning was thought to be responsible for mass hysteria in the Middle Ages across Europe. Think of potato blight and crop failures such as starved Ireland in relatively recent times, causing not only mass starvation but massive migration of desperate people.

The past was by far the worst. Modern agriculture moving away from near organic was not an accident. It was for very good reasons. For consistent and higher yields of superior quality at a lower affordable price.
 
I'm not involved with organic, I am steering my farm on a course away from chemicals. I've commented on this article elsewhere, the first thought that struck me was "ffs, did nothing grow in the world before chemicals". From a farming perspective I find it sad, and not in a way Trump might use the word.

There's a lot of verbage and little detail, on practices for instance, there's also a narrative saying there's chem ag OR organic and nothing else.

The one gripe which stands up, from my reading anyway, is that the candidate came in on pro chemical platform, then did a fast U turn to this situation today. Agree or disagree with chems, it's obvious to anyone that a lead in time is necessary for any move away from chemical, or the system crashes.

Rather than have a go at any system I'd say this situation has been brought about by an age old problem, a f**king politician.
there is a lot of soil biology that creates production in an organic system, however, this soil biology does not work when chemicals ( or mainly Nitrogen) are applied, so when you suddenly stop one system, the other does not suddenly hit top gear, this I believe is why yields have hit a low point. Re booting the soil biology is not just a "stop putting on N", it is a far more involved process. And there will be a yield reduction as well, slightly. The only people who really benefit from our present agricultural system are the Spray, Fertliser companies and long term our present system is not sustainable.
 

Vader

Member
I'm not involved with organic, I am steering my farm on a course away from chemicals. I've commented on this article elsewhere, the first thought that struck me was "ffs, did nothing grow in the world before chemicals". From a farming perspective I find it sad, and not in a way Trump might use the word.

There's a lot of verbage and little detail, on practices for instance, there's also a narrative saying there's chem ag OR organic and nothing else.

The one gripe which stands up, from my reading anyway, is that the candidate came in on pro chemical platform, then did a fast U turn to this situation today. Agree or disagree with chems, it's obvious to anyone that a lead in time is necessary for any move away from chemical, or the system crashes.

Rather than have a go at any system I'd say this situation has been brought about by an age old problem, a f**king politician.
I was organic.
Did think if you could half way house it.
We never got disease in the wheat, but always comes back to yield.
No fert, not enough yield as no premium.
But of fert, plant grows faster and gets disease.
 

kfpben

Member
Location
Mid Hampshire
there is a lot of soil biology that creates production in an organic system, however, this soil biology does not work when chemicals ( or mainly Nitrogen) are applied, so when you suddenly stop one system, the other does not suddenly hit top gear, this I believe is why yields have hit a low point. Re booting the soil biology is not just a "stop putting on N", it is a far more involved process. And there will be a yield reduction as well, slightly. The only people who really benefit from our present agricultural system are the Spray, Fertliser companies and long term our present system is not sustainable.
The general public benefit hugely from our current system- through cheaper food!
 
Yes stuff grew before but it was when a very high proportion of a much much smaller population worked on the land and yields were a tiny fraction of today's yields per acre while also being less reliable. What I mean by 'less reliable' is that some years the crops would be devastated by pests or diseases or fungal infections which would either result in insufficient crop for even the relatively tiny population, and/or the crops not surviving storage over Winter, either rotting away or going mouldy and, if eaten in desperation, would be poisonous. Ergo poisoning was thought to be responsible for mass hysteria in the Middle Ages across Europe. Think of potato blight and crop failures such as starved Ireland in relatively recent times, causing not only mass starvation but massive migration of desperate people.

The past was by far the worst. Modern agriculture moving away from near organic was not an accident. It was for very good reasons. For consistent and higher yields of superior quality at a lower affordable price.
I think the present system came about because the large chemical companies no longer had a market for their explosives etc, with the end of the second world war, so they transitioned to making synthetic fertliser instead.

Also we can't judge regen ag and organic systems by what happened in the past, those systems still caused soil organic matter loss, systems that are being developed now are completely different, and have grown with our knowledge of soil micro biome.
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
I think the present system came about because the large chemical companies no longer had a market for their explosives etc, with the end of the second world war, so they transitioned to making synthetic fertliser instead.

Also we can't judge regen ag and organic systems by what happened in the past, those systems still caused soil organic matter loss, systems that are being developed now are completely different, and have grown with our knowledge of soil micro biome.

I don't agree. There was a massive shortage of food and zero food security in the UK in particular due to not only the war but previous politics which favoured cheap imports before the Second World War. Remember that even with a massive input of extra labour and great strides in mechanisation during the war, the UK was still subject to food rationing into the mid 1950's.
There is no way that today's population can be sustained on the current farmed acreage, anywhere, under organic production methods.
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
in the short term, 60 harvests until we destroy our top soils, then the general public may have a problem.
My father & now myself have farmed the same farm since 1955 & his uncle before that from 1929 in the last 60 years fertiliser use has not altered much but yields with new varieties of corn & grass have increased a great deal
If this is the result of the last 60 years I would love to know from these eco prat’s why it should change over the next 60 years
 

Lowland1

Member
Mixed Farmer
The problem in third world countries like Sri Lanka is that chemicals are used as a replacement for good farming techniques not complementary as in the developed world. Here in Kenya we very rarely get bothered by machinery salesmen but we are forever being bothered by chemical or fertilizer salesmen. We are always being asked what fertilizer we used or what sprays never about seed rates or cultivation techniques. We are basically told you can buy your crop.
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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