Sri Lanka’s Green New Deal: Lessons for Sustainable Agriculture


Government leaders around the world are exploring ways to revolutionize agriculture with a focus on sustainability. As they embark on this endeavor, it is crucial that they take a closer look at Sri Lanka. According to The Wall Street Journal, Sri Lanka’s Green New Deal, while aiming for a poison-free and environmentally friendly approach, has resulted in disastrous consequences for its people. Let’s delve deeper into the challenges faced by the Sri Lankan government and uncover valuable lessons for sustainable agriculture.

A History of Agricultural Riches

Norman Borlaug, a prominent figure in the agricultural world, paved the way for Sri Lanka’s agricultural success several decades ago. However, in an attempt to prioritize the well-being of its citizens, the Sri Lankan government decided to ban all chemical fertilizers and pesticides, leading to a complete shift towards organic farming. Unfortunately, this decision had unintended consequences.

The Downfall of Rice and Tea Production

The ban on synthetic fertilizers had a devastating impact on Sri Lanka’s main cash crops: rice and tea. The country witnessed a sharp decline in production, resulting in a scarcity of these crucial food items. As a consequence, food prices soared, and hunger became a pressing issue for the Sri Lankan population.

Revisiting the Organic Approach

While the Green New Deal faced significant setbacks, supporters of organic farming in Sri Lanka believe in the viability of this approach. They argue that sufficient time was not allowed for organic agriculture to flourish. The Sri Lankan Organic Movement asserts that the ban on chemical inputs did not have a notable impact on food security.

A Call for Toxin-Free Agriculture

Advocates for organic farming in Sri Lanka continue to push for a toxin-free nation that prioritizes people-centered practices over corporate profit. They highlight the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers on the environment, claiming that they have contaminated wells and streams while contributing to high instances of kidney disease. Sri Lanka’s President also emphasizes the negative implications of agrochemicals on soil fertility, yields, and biodiversity.

Navigating the Path Forward

Despite the challenges faced by the organic movement in Sri Lanka, its proponents remain committed to supporting agriculture and ensuring the well-being of farmers. They advocate for realistic time frames for transitioning to organic farming and providing farmers with the necessary knowledge and skills.

Learning from Sri Lanka’s Experience

The Sri Lankan situation serves as a valuable lesson for policymakers worldwide. Sri Lanka’s President even had to flee for his safety due to widespread protests triggered by the failure of their agricultural policies. It is crucial for policymakers to strike a balance between sustainability and ensuring an adequate food supply for the population.


Sri Lanka’s Green New Deal highlights the complex challenges associated with transitioning to sustainable agriculture. While the intention was noble, the consequences were severe. By learning from Sri Lanka’s experience, policymakers can make informed decisions and develop realistic approaches to address the pressing issues of environmental sustainability and food security.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not necessarily reflective of DHPL Travels.

Sri Lanka Green New Deal

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