Protests have been initiated across the North-East, the traditional Tamil homeland, drawing attention to the plight of farmers in the island.
The Sri Lankan government has abruptly halted imports of chemical fertilisers in a drastic attempt to supposedly make a transition towards organic farming. This move deprived the farmers, an overwhelming majority of whom are dependent on chemical fertilisers, of an essential commodity in their agriculture.
Protests commenced at around 9.00 AM today in Manthai West and Thunukkai areas in Mullaitivu district.
The agitation took place in front of the Agrarian Services Centre in Pandiyankulam with protesters carrying placards that read, “Remove the ban on fertilisers,” “Ensure the availability of fertilisers!”, and other slogans.
The protesting farmers also presented a petition to the instructor at the Agrarian Services Centre explaining their woes.
Similar campaigns are also being spearheaded in Jaffna where, under the organisation of the Valikamam Farmers Collective, protests took place in front of the Puttur and Urumpirai Agrarian Centres.
M.A.Sumanthiran of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) participated alongside farmers in the demonstrations in Jaffna.
The protesters demanded that the import of onion and potatoes be banned during the harvesting season and also echoed widespread concerns regarding the ban on the import of fertilisers.