Sri Lankan demonstrators will hold three-days of protests across the country from today in response to the ongoing economic crisis.
The demonstrations intend to pressure the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the country experiences a severe foreign exchange crunch and inflation of 18.7%. The economy relies upon the revenues from agriculture and tourism, which have been at their lowest levels in decades.
Colombo’s decision to transition into organic agriculture farming by banning the import of fertilizers works to save foreign exchange bills that would otherwise go towards fertilizer imports. The production of tea and rice, the primary sources of export and foreign exchange, has fallen by nearly 30%. Loss of exchange has led to a rapid depreciation of the country’s currency, the rupee.
The government will likely approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure monetary support, which the Fund is likely to grant. Additionally, Colombo might lift its complete fertilizer ban and increase the production of organic fertilizers. The move could help the country revive its surplus exports of tea and rice and improve bolstering its foreign exchange reserves in the medium term.
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Simran Sharma is an Analyst and a second-year graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy concentrating on security studies and international negotiations. Prior to her degree at Fletcher, she worked in the international development space in India as a Gandhi Fellow with the Piramal Foundation. Her regional interests include the rise of China and the great power competition in South Asia with a focus on maritime issues in the Indian Ocean Region and South China Sea.