Sri Lanka has requested a $55 million loan from India to purchase urea amid its worst economic crisis threatening severe food shortages, an official said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had recently warned of a food crisis in the island nation due to the current economic crisis.
The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the Prime Minister to sign an agreement with India to buy urea for agriculture, an official said.
The government said the Indian government had agreed to provide the $55 million loan through the Export-Import Bank of India.
The loan is being obtained for the purchase of urea for the 2022/23 Maha’ harvest season.
Wickremesinghe said that within five to six months, current agricultural shortages could be saved if swift action was taken to address the shortages facing farmers.
The country is facing a nearly 50% crop loss due to a decision by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last year to ban imports of chemical fertilizers.
The decision led to widespread protests from farmers which the government ignored, saying the policy was to shift to green farming with organic fertilizers.
Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1945.
The economic crisis has caused severe shortages of essentials like food, medicine, cooking gas and other fuels, toilet paper and even matches, with Sri Lankans forced to queue for months for hours in front of stores to buy fuel and cooking gas.
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