A field of green rice in Sri Lanka

Go Organic, And Starve!


By Paul Homewood

h/t Dennis Ambler

Unintended consequences (or maybe they were intended?)

From Foreign Policy News:

Faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, Sri Lanka called off an ill-conceived national experiment in organic agriculture this winter. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised in his 2019 election campaign to transition the country’s farmers to organic agriculture over a period of 10 years. Last April, Rajapaksa’s government made good on that promise, imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordering the country’s 2 million farmers to go organic.

The result was brutal and swift. Against claims that organic methods can produce comparable yields to conventional farming, domestic rice production fell 20 percent in just the first six months. Sri Lanka, long self-sufficient in rice production, has been forced to import $450 million worth of rice even as domestic prices for this staple of the national diet surged by around 50 percent. The ban also devastated the nation’s tea crop, its primary export and source of foreign exchange.

By November 2021, with tea production falling, the government partially lifted its fertilizer ban on key export crops, including tea, rubber, and coconut. Faced with angry protests, soaring inflation, and the collapse of Sri Lanka’s currency, the government finally suspended the policy for several key crops—including tea, rubber, and coconut—last month, although it continues for some others. The government is also offering $200 million to farmers as direct compensation and an additional $149 million in price subsidies to rice farmers who incurred losses. That hardly made up for the damage and suffering the ban produced. Farmers have widely criticized the payments for being massively insufficient and excluding many farmers, most notably tea producers, who offer one of the main sources of employment in rural Sri Lanka. The drop in tea production alone is estimated to result in economic losses of $425 million.

Human costs have been even greater. Prior to the pandemic’s outbreak, the country had proudly achieved upper-middle-income status. Today, half a million people have sunk back into poverty. Soaring inflation and a rapidly depreciating currency have forced Sri Lankans to cut down on food and fuel purchases as prices surge. The country’s economists have called on the government to default on its debt repayments to buy essential supplies for its people.

The farrago of magical thinking, technocratic hubris, ideological delusion, self-dealing, and sheer shortsightedness that produced the crisis in Sri Lanka implicates both the country’s political leadership and advocates of so-called sustainable agriculture: the former for seizing on the organic agriculture pledge as a shortsighted measure to slash fertilizer subsidies and imports and the latter for suggesting that such a transformation of the nation’s agricultural sector could ever possibly succeed.

Full story here.

Meanwhile our agricultural policy seems to be dictated by the same sort of idiots:


Maybe feeding the world should take priority over “carbon storage”?

Of course, many of Juniper’s ilk want to see a much smaller global population. Who needs fertiliser!

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Hans Erren
May 21, 2022 2:16 am

Homepage summary is truncated at front end

May 21, 2022 2:19 am

The Sri Lankan people are hanging and burning politicians. I commend this to the world.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 21, 2022 4:48 am

2M farmers/22M people = 9%. Obviously, there were a majority of “STUPID SMART PEOPLE” to do
something REALLY, REALLY DUMB! They definitely EARNED the wrath of the rest of the people!
Every farmer knows that it takes “STUPID SMART PEOPLE” to believe that organic/sustainable
agriculture is a workable option for ALL farmers as it can’t produce enough to work. People willingly
pay more for organic produce when they have little/no understanding of why it is supposedly worth
more other than because of the hype/chic associated with it. Think brown eggs vs white eggs.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Old Man Winter
May 21, 2022 5:37 am

Government bureaucrats and academics are all very intelligent people but “smart”, not so much! Very, very few of these people have ever done anything in the real world like making a profit, making a payroll, meeting a budget, or working as a project manager. I suspect many if not most have never worked a farm of any kind. Book learning just doesn’t teach like actually doing it.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 21, 2022 11:34 am

Well look at the bright side. Sri Lanka has become a guiding case history that agronomy designed and planned by sociologists and climateers is not going to work.

This case history can be added to the renewable energy industry one that South Australia, Texas and Europe have volunteered as “climate crash test dummies” (to use Rud’s apposite term) for.

Although abject failures have increased the zeal for more of the same, this is simply the athletic leaping and flapping of a chicken with its head cut off.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 22, 2022 12:42 pm

“Government bureaucrats and academics are all very intelligent people…” While, it’s likely that was true in the past, I do believe the Biden administration has proven that is no longer remotely true.

Rhoda R.
Reply to  .KcTaz
May 22, 2022 8:37 pm

Especially not academics. Not since getting all HS kids into college as a goal resulted in drastically lowering the academic standards for entry. And too many of these early unacademically qualified students have morphed over the years into instructors and professors.

Reply to  Old Man Winter
May 21, 2022 7:30 pm

“Obviously, there were a majority of “STUPID SMART PEOPLE” to do something REALLY, REALLY DUMB!

Part of the calculations that “stupid smart people” use to make their claim is they factor in all of the land used to raise animals from chicken, quail, ducks, rabbits on up to water buffalo.

These same “stupid smart people” claim that raising animals for food, wastes valuable arable land that can then be used for growing plants. according to vegetarians and vegans.

Rather than claim these people are “stupid smart”, just call them what they are, people of abject faith.

They may technically know their claims are irrational. It is their faith that keeps them screaming for their demands and abject refusal to listen to rational discussions.

There are perfect examples that comment here on WUWT.

  • They refuse individual liberties.
  • They refuse to consider habitat changes within small locales.
  • They refuse to listen to real weather and weather data.
  • They refuse to consider history’s repeated proofs that meat eating advanced civilizations.
  • They refuse to admit that farms differ from each other even in the same valley.
  • Instead, they yowl that everyone must live the life chosen for them by allegedly vegetarian/vegan despots.
Last edited 1 year ago by ATheoK
Reply to  ATheoK
May 21, 2022 9:20 pm

Well said ATheoK,
We are living in the age of smart phones and stupid people and even stupider politicians .
When I was a boy there were around 2.5 billion people on this planet .
We were told then that children in many other countries did not have enough to eat .
Now the worlds population is approaching 8 billion .
Organic farming would not feed 4 billion.
Nitrogen fertilizer is essential to grow enough food to feed the world .
Phosphate ,potash sulpher,and calcium are the main fertilizers required with lesser amounts of boron,magnesium and cobalt.
As crops, milk and meat are sold off these minerals have to be replaced at some stage .
That is basic science.
Our communist PM Jacinda Adern had a nuclear moment when she became our PM and banned any further oil and gas exploration off New Zealands coast .
We have one urea plant in Taranaki that uses natural gas but a lot of nitrogenous fertilizer is imported .We could easily commission another urea plant as there is a lot on gas off our coasts .
Why cut off your nose to spite your face ?
We now have a far left Green climate change minister James Shaw who is trying to ruin our dairy ,beef and sheep farming .
Dairy exports make up over 30% of our traded exports to the world .
James Shaw is hell bent on putting carbon taxes on farming as the ‘clown’ says that the world will stop buying if we do not cut our carbon emissions .
You cannot argue with stupid people as our exports have the lowest carbon footprint in the world even after factoring in shipping .
This idiot said that buyers will demand low carbon produce produced in sustainable ways.
That is exactly what our buyers in other countries are getting .
New Zealand feeds 40 million people around the world but this dumbas claims that our agricultural emissions account for 50% of our carbon emissions .
There are many basic flaws with the UNIPCC’s calculations of countries food exports .

Reply to  Graham
May 22, 2022 12:58 pm

“Why cut off your nose to spite your face?”

CAGW is a faith-based belief system. The politicians who believe or, pretend to believe, are practitioners of that faith and are determined that their peoples’ sins be exculpated by making sacrifices to the CAGW gods.

Some “leaders” are more than happy to sacrifice their people to their gods, no matter how much suffering it causes, in fact, the more suffering the better.

It’s really not much different than when high priests sacrificed virgins to appease the weather gods whom, they were certain, were angered by the people’s sins. Like the high priests, these leaders get rich and live well off of sacrificing their people in this “noble and holy cause.”

Reply to  Graham
May 23, 2022 5:13 pm

Sorry, but people get the government they elect.

Reply to  ATheoK
May 23, 2022 5:10 pm

Stupid is as stupid does. And, as always, “You can’t fix stupid”.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 21, 2022 6:47 am

I was going to bring up the retribution if no-one else did, but you hit it early in the comment thread, Chas.

The people busy destroying the U.S. might want to take note of what poor, formerly well off, people who are now very hungry might consider as a solution to their unnecessary woes. Or at least the poor and hungry might feel a bit better afterwards, even if it doesn’t solve their problems.

I would think that the replacement politicians might try a little harder to work on viable policies for food and energy.

Rod Evans
Reply to  H.R.
May 21, 2022 10:36 pm

When people, who know what they are doing are prevented form even surviving by people, who do not know what they are doing, then you can expect a great reset of the political elite to take place.
People with brains and sufficient brawn will not simply collapse into suicidal starvation and peasant status. People with ability to resist the destruction of civilised society will do so.
The political elite need to be aware. They are building social anarchy. They will not be survivors when the people decide they have had enough of them.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 21, 2022 8:59 am

They should be going after those that proposed these ideas to the politicians also.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
May 22, 2022 12:39 pm

I hear tar and feathers work good, too, at least, that used to be the method of choice for angry voters dealing with crooked politicians in the US.

Rhoda R.
Reply to  .KcTaz
May 22, 2022 8:41 pm

Although lynching is a more permanent lesson.

May 21, 2022 2:31 am

Madness. This won’t be the end of the misery that cult national policies will cause in the coming decades. Next winter energy shortages will be more brutal.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  cerescokid
May 21, 2022 2:36 am

Food shortages too.

Bryan A
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
May 21, 2022 10:47 am

“Who needs fertilizer” when you can simply create the situation where over half the population will perish from starvation then compost the bodies to replenish the fields

Reply to  Bryan A
May 22, 2022 1:01 pm

Bryan A
That does appear to be The Plan, doesn’t it? They, the WEF et al, are not shy about so stating, either.

May 21, 2022 2:43 am

So, it seemed like a good idea?

I can say with IPCC level confidence that this lesson won’t be heeded by Juniper and the dark green fraternity

Joao Martins
May 21, 2022 2:44 am

Go Organic, And Starve!
Bad title, or lack of a sub-title.

Shoulde be:

“Have less to eat and be happy”.

Reply to  Joao Martins
May 21, 2022 3:24 am

“Twee middle-class protesters will be back on the streets of London later this week.

They’ll be joining celebrity chef Jamie Oliver for a protest in London on Friday. And he has just one simple aim: to make it more expensive for people to buy food.

Boris Johnson has been warned: Oliver says the PM has got 36 hours to rethink his decision to delay a proposed ban on ‘buy one, get one free’ (BOGOF) deals for supposedly ‘unhealthy food’. “


Oliver doesn’t approve of peoples’ choices, he knows what’s best…

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  fretslider
May 21, 2022 4:42 am

In the UK we’re on our third generation who haven’t experienced a real situation where the choice is eating what’s available or not eating. It’s even longer since the situation when every part of an animal was (knowingly) eaten: who in the UK under 30 eats faggots, tripe, liver, kidney, pettitoe, sweetbread or even veal unless in a fancy restaurant with a fancy name?

When you’re constantly hungry there’s no such thing as unhealthy food

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joao Martins
May 21, 2022 5:29 am

You’ll eat nothing and be happy?

william Johnston
Reply to  Rich Davis
May 21, 2022 6:43 am

Obesity epidemic solved.

oeman 50
Reply to  Joao Martins
May 21, 2022 8:46 am

Some people are so green they don’t need food, they just sit outside and photosynthesize’

Rhoda R.
Reply to  oeman 50
May 22, 2022 8:43 pm

Yes. They are called vegetables for a reason.

Peta of Newark
May 21, 2022 3:38 am

Historic Schist from Jupineer:” It doesn’t mark any sort of historic shift what so ever

What it marks is ever expanding government control over farmland – it is put there to:

  • Find fault with farmers and what they do…
  • …thus create extra penalties for non-compliance
  • Increase farmer’s workload for no extra reward
  • Create more bureaucracy
  • Increase the size of viable farms =small (family) farms disappear. Not that there’s many left anyhow.

None of that really matters anyway, we are already starving and dying off.

A lovely 2 part example:
1/ In the US now, there are about 10 million couples, who after sufficient time spent ‘trying to conceive’ – haven’t managed to produce a viable baby nor are they any nearer doing so.
I expect that that is the huuuuuge richness they posses combined with Galactic Scale Intelligence
(Hello boys, I know what you’re thinking……………. Is that a sign of intelligence?)

2/ Really crazily from the Covid scare, fewer people in the US died during The Scare than did otherwise – US death rate fell. We know this from Galactic Scale Profits being announced by Life Insurance Companies
It’s maybe just as well because prior to that, US life-spans were falling – and falling fast.
This decline is also apparent in other countries but put on a league scale, only 2 other countries are showing faster decline than the US.
You know one of them = Venezuela
The other being Syria – not least coz they’re always having a war

What’s your excuse Uncle Sam?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 21, 2022 5:03 am

North Korea had the added bonus of people becoming smaller, too. Unfortunately, the West will be
on that same plunging trajectory with the “EVIL SMART PEOPLE” probably having set that as
their goal! It’s harder to prove murder from starvation than other means!

Last edited 1 year ago by Old Man Winter
May 21, 2022 4:04 am

I note, that when politicians, government, and “experts” start pitching “fairness” and making things “fairer,” the poor get poorer, and the wealthy get wealthier.

Reply to  Nik
May 21, 2022 4:37 am

Truer words have not been written.

Reply to  Nik
May 21, 2022 9:41 am

Yes, any government programs announced with the words “Fair” or “Safe” in their title should be regarded with the highest levels of skepticism.

Both those words are subjective descriptors, and the politicians & bureaucrats are always only thinking from the perspectives of what is “safe” or “fair” for them and their pay packets.

another ian
May 21, 2022 4:33 am

“Definition of the day”

“Religious Fanatic (n): “A person who does what God would do if only He understood the situation.”


May 21, 2022 4:41 am

The UK may well get away with going organic. The UK doesn’t depend on tea exports for foreign exchange and the farmers are being paid to re-wild. As long as the world wants to launder its dirty cash through London, and transact its various kinds of financial alchemy in the City—oh, and as long as government borrowing is at near-zero rates of interest—the UK government can buy all the unicorns.

Last edited 1 year ago by Quelgeek
Reply to  Quelgeek
May 21, 2022 4:52 am

It’s guaranteed to drive up imports – and food miles

May 21, 2022 4:58 am

“Organic” labeling is a scam, firstly. Nothing that a human can eat is anything other than organic – unlike birds, we don’t consume rocks for our gizzards. The notion that “organic” raised products are more “sustainable” is simply a baldfaced lie. The opposite, in fact, is true, because food production that is supercharged by fertilizers and insecticides consumes far less farmland, and far less energy, than inefficient “organic” methods. More people get fed using less resource.

If certain mindless people want to pay a premium for “organic” labeled food, I’m fine with that. Or if they buy premium gasoline even though their car works perfectly fine on unleaded regular, I’m fine with that. Choice is a good thing, in and of itself.

But government mandates are not fine.

Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 5:35 am

“Organic” is not well defined and often means shitty. “Organic Chemistry” on the other hand is a well defined scientific field of study and practice that has elevated our lives.

It gives us a detailed understanding of hydrocarbon fuels, for example, but so much more that has raised our standard of living.

Reply to  Scissor
May 21, 2022 11:10 am

Scientifically, any substance that contains carbon (oops!!! … oh no, the evil C word!!!) is organic. All living and formerly living things on Earth are organic.

Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 3:49 pm

That would include diamonds. I believe that “organic”, in the chemistry sense, means CHON.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 22, 2022 5:07 am

Its complicated. Benzene is “organic” but has no “N”. So do fatty acids and fats.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Duane
May 22, 2022 5:05 am

Not realy, but close: limestone, chalk, are not included in organic chemistry (though lots of it were produced by the action of living organisms: carbon in the body of a snail belongs to organic chemistry, carbon in the snail shell does not).

Rich Davis
Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 6:19 am

I don’t disagree that a lot of people with more money than brains are buying Organic ™ produce for foolish superstitious reasons, such as an irrational fear of GMO or glyphosate.

I disagree or at least think that you have poorly expressed your intended meaning with respect to choice.

Choice is not in and of itself of any value. In the phrase “freedom of choice”, the words “of choice” are extraneous. It is FREEDOM which is important.

As an illustration of my point, consider the abundant choices in a hypothetical Presidential election where the ballot includes Biden, Clinton, Cuomo, DeBlasio, Harris, Jankowicz, Lightfoot, Newsom, M.Obama, Ocasio-Cortez, Pelosi, Sanders, Schumer, Tlaib, Warren, (Mad Maxine) Waters, and Whitmer.

What is good “in and of itself” to have those choices?

What I hope you meant was that it is good that people are free to live their lives as they see fit, even though some people will make bad choices. It is good in and of itself that our choices are not limited by excessive government meddling.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 21, 2022 7:14 am

Yes — sometimes it’s freedom from choice:

“Jimmy, do you want broccoli or cauliflower?”

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 21, 2022 11:07 am

What I meant I thought was pretty obvious. Freedom of choice is just that, it speaks for itself. A government mandate that all food must be produced “organically” (a fraudulent term) means free choice is not available. The markets – which are made up of producers and consumers, acting freely and independently, should govern what is produced and consumed.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 1:36 pm

You didn’t say “freedom of choice”, I did.

What you said that I thought and continue to think is a bad way of putting it was:

Choice is a good thing, in and of itself

Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 1:39 pm

Duane – When someone brings up organic foods and starts extolling organic food’s virtues, I always pipe up with, “Oh I always buy inorganic foods. Organic foods upset my stomach.” (All innocent-sounding, of course.)

You wouldn’t believe the number of people that statement just whizzes right by. No clue. Not so much as jaundiced gaze or a “you’re pulling my leg.” Hey, if there is organic food, there must be inorganic food, right?

It’s no wonder so many people accept all the propaganda that is being passed off as news or ‘fact’ nowadays. I mourn for the days where people who were educated through 8th grade exceeded knew what is now achieved after 4 years of college, and even then they may fall short of a 1940s or ’50s H.S. graduate..

Rich Davis
Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 1:46 pm

Choice is good
Change is good

Weak-minded sloppy thinking slogans. (Typical of Democrats)

Choices all fall on a spectrum from good to bad. You can easily find yourself in a situation where all the choices are bad.

Similarly changes are all on a spectrum from good to bad. For example change from Carter to Reagan vs change from Trump to Biden.

Old Cocky
Reply to  Duane
May 21, 2022 5:28 pm

That’s not correct in all cases. High nutrient soils where plant growth is limited by other factors such as available moisture can be farmed for decades with crop rotation to fix nitrogen.

It does eventually reach the point where nutrients need to be added, or weed loads become too high to control without herbicide use, so is not strictly sustainable long-term.

Organic certification on new paddocks can give a nice income boost for doing what you would have done anyway.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Duane
May 22, 2022 5:00 am

… because food production that is supercharged by fertilizers and insecticides consumes far less farmland, and far less energy …

I agree with your general idea BUT:

Good, science based food production is not “supercharged” with fertilizer and agrochemicals: it uses just the right, needed amounts of those substances.

Why? Because production (better said: productivity) DOES NOT grow proportional to the amounts of fertilizers and agrochemicals: when the nutritional needs of the crop are fulfilled, there is no use in applying more fertilizer; when the pests and diseases are controled, there is no use in apllying more pesticides. Any surplus application of fertilizers or agrochemicals is lost money.

Thus, we should say that food production uses enough fertilizers and agrochemicals; saying that it is “supercharged” gives a wrong idea (super is easily equated to “excessive”).

jeffery P
May 21, 2022 5:27 am

Sure, people will starve but won’t we all feel better about it if they starve organically?

John Shotsky
May 21, 2022 5:35 am

Can’t fix stupid. And you can’t fix really stupid politicians.
How do you become president of a country and then kill off its economy? And apparently he ‘promised’ to kill off the economy, and the mindless fools voted him in. As they say, be careful what you vote for.

william Johnston
Reply to  John Shotsky
May 21, 2022 6:50 am

Same way you campaign to “fundamentally transform” America, and get elected. Anyone asking for clarification was silenced.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  John Shotsky
May 22, 2022 4:26 am

Biden is simply an ignorant front man for those who want to change America. He is the walking/talking poster child for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Joao Martins
Reply to  John Shotsky
May 22, 2022 5:12 am

” ... And you can’t fix really stupid politicians …


It depends on the amount of money that you want to spend, AND where you put that money. Like when fishing: you can attract fish with carefully located baits.

(I know, this reasoning is flawed: it is just fixing a behavior, not fixing stupidity…)

Last edited 1 year ago by Joao Martins
Rhoda R.
Reply to  Joao Martins
May 22, 2022 8:49 pm

Hello street lamp, hello rope. Some assembly required. The Sri Lankan option.

May 21, 2022 5:46 am

Have been reading and hearing about sustainable farming for over 40 years. I have yet to find a definition for it.

Reply to  Mike4478
May 21, 2022 4:19 pm

Mike, sustainable farming is what is being done by a farmer who is still farming after 40 years.

Reply to  H.R.
May 21, 2022 8:01 pm

I would agree. There are fields near me that have been farmed for 150+ years using conventional farming methods. That seems sustainable to me.

Tom Halla
May 21, 2022 6:06 am

Another mad band of socialists, the NSDAP, were great sponsors of biodynamic agriculture, the origin of organic. Heinrich Himmler was a major advocate.
Despite looting most of Europe, the Third Reich was noted for famines.

May 21, 2022 6:10 am

How do you know if someone is a vegetarian? They will tell you.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Marty
May 21, 2022 6:27 am

And tell you, and tell you.

Reply to  Marty
May 21, 2022 4:24 pm

The broccoli and carrots will run from the room, screaming, “Murderer! Murderer!”

That’s always a clue.

May 21, 2022 6:16 am

We have a family friend who transformed his tea farm to permaculture. It took about ten years. So, he ended up with a tea farm that doesn’t use fertilizer and pesticides. He’s in the mountains so he doesn’t get the kind of yields the flat land farmers get anyway, and he gets a premium for his tea because it’s grown on a mountain and it’s organic. It worked out well for him but it’s telling that none of his neighbors have followed suit.

As far as I can tell, expecting farmers to switch to organic farming overnight is just plain ignorant and stupid.

If you wanted to switch to organic rice farming, what would you do?

We have the example of the Canadian response to the dirty thirties. The dirty thirties were brought about by bad farming practices that caused the soil to blow away when the drought came.

The Canadian government established the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Agency (PFRA). Among other things, it started research farms to explore techniques to preserve and enrich the soil. Once they knew what worked, there was a massive program of farmer education.

Based on Canadian and American experience in reforming the agricultural practices that led to the dirty thirties, I would say that, if you want to switch your whole country to organic farming, step one would be to demonstrate that it is actually possible. Step two would be to teach the nation’s farmers how to do it.

It is endemic to leftists, and bureaucrats in general, to think that they can just mandate something and it will happen. Stalin and Mao exterminated way more people than Hitler did. They did it by mandating stupid agricultural policies. link

Curious George
Reply to  commieBob
May 21, 2022 8:44 am

“if you want to switch your whole country to organic farming, step one would be to demonstrate that it is actually possible.”
In a woke world, step one is to switch. Worry if it is actually possible in step 2.

Reply to  Curious George
May 21, 2022 9:22 am

Kind of like switching to windmills and solar before demonstrating that it is possible. From what I have seen, it is not viable on the large scale.
Organic farming is a niche method of producing food just like windmills and solar panels are niche methods of producing power.

Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 21, 2022 9:49 am

Yes, I’ve posted comments a few times here about the village in India upon which Greenpeace imposed a solar electricity system back in 2014.

The villagers soon rejected it as “fake electricity”.

Now read the sorry (but predictable) outcome of this instance of Greenpeace chutzpa.

(Plot spoiler – it just doesn’t work like they say it will)


Reply to  commieBob
May 21, 2022 10:48 am

Academics have managed the published history of the Dirty Thirties in NA to their advantage.  In reality they studied successful farming practices that were already in use by some farmers, established test plots to see if they worked in other locations, and were able to show local farmers that their yields would be higher. It very much enhanced the Ag market system. There were also technical advancements by farm equipment manufacturers that better allowed seeding “stubble”, grains requiring fewer frost-free growing days, and shorter varieties that didn’t “lodge” (lay on the ground if rained or snowed on) as easily.  The Ag research stations had the advantage of being able to have multiple test plots and perform dozens experiments per year, something farmers trying to make a living can only do to a very limited extent.

This is completely different than the central planning that occurred in Russia (and later in China), which resulted in farm collectivism, starvation, and basically the torture and imprisonment until death of hundreds of thousands of “peasants”, aka “farmers” who weren’t in agreement with having their farms and produce confiscated. “Fat” farmers were assumed to be hiding their own personal stash of grain and potatoes and were sent to the gulag. This is how central planning combined with the aphrodisiac of political power and way too many soldiers controls an economy…..

In the modern world these “dumb farmers” likely have college degrees and program their GPS guidance system to minimize herbicide overspray, and the driver operates equipment worth the price of a jet airplane. Sending them to the gulag is not a good option, when they say they need diesel fuel, society better provide it…hence farm fuel subsidies or tax rebates.

Last edited 1 year ago by DMacKenzie
Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 21, 2022 2:48 pm

Before this concept of fuel subsidies gets too much press, you need to know there are no fuel subsidies for farmers. Because the fuel is not used for highway use, the tax is not paid. Since the purpose of the fuel tax was for the highway system, it was not intended to be paid for off-road users. Unfortunately, politicians siphon off these funds for non-road uses.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 21, 2022 2:52 pm

Fully agree with your comment.

Why are the Ukrainians defending their homeland so staunchly? They remember Stalin’s policies, which they call Holodomor, which caused the death of millions of Ukrainians. They want no part of the neo-Soviet Union which Vlad Putin is pushing.

The Soviet Union is gone but the mindset remains.

May 21, 2022 6:25 am

On the positive side, this should be a very powerful lesson. Sri Lanka won’t make the mistake of embracing goofy theories to justify harmful central management decisions again while the current population is alive.

Missing meals is a great way to lock in a learning forever.

People who grow up during depressions often remain frugal and risk averse for the rest of their lives.

Reply to  vboring
May 22, 2022 5:43 am

You overestimate my people. In the 70s the socialists through nationalization schemes and import bans brought on a similar economic and food crisis but people didn’t learn back then and they haven’t learned now. Literally every problem in Sri Lanka gets blamed on corruption rather than the source of the corruption.
No one ever learns.
The last 100 years of Sri Lanka’s history should be a lesson to all countries. Even a prosperous peaceful nation can be completely ruined in a short period of time if you allow intellectuals to ruin the culture and erode institutions.

Reply to  Ben
May 22, 2022 10:08 am

I think every country, the U.S. included, is experiencing how prosperity and peace can be completely ruined in a short period of time. The Biden administration has brought us to the brink in only 14 months.

I think your use of the term “intellectuals” bringing on ruin is misplaced. Just because someone has a degree does not make them an intellectual. Nor does it make their actions beneficial to the general populace.
Some of the dumbest people I have ever met have sheepskins that say they have been given knowledge in a certain area. They may have expertise in that area (very often not) but do not have a broad range of knowledge to correlate different aspects of what certain actions will produce.
I was having some beer in my buddy’s garage observing his neighbor, a highly educated computer programmer, looking puzzled at his flat tire and tire iron while he had his car on a jack. In unison we shouted out “Lefty loosey, righty tighty” which was the additional knowledge he needed to change his flat.

Frequently there is a lack of common sense which seems to be not so common. It may be that people have become so specialized that they have no experience or knowledge of what used to be a common practice and relegate those actions to others that claim to be experts or if has been drowned out by the onslaught of media propaganda.

CD in Wisconsin
May 21, 2022 7:16 am

Government here in the U.S. is also sticking its big nose in agriculture and is causing problems.

Here in the U.S., we have been rerouting some domestic corn production to make ethanol for extending gasoline supplies and make gasoline more “sustainable.” The problem with that is it drives up the cost of meat because corn is used to feed livestock….

Biden’s Ethanol Move Boosts Producers, Worries Meat Companies – WSJ

“Following the Biden administration’s move, E15 consumption is expected to increase by about 300 million gallons in 2022 from the 814 million gallons of E15 sold in 2021, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group that represents ethanol producers and some corn grower groups. More than 15 billion gallons of ethanol were produced in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Increased demand for corn could push up prices for the grain if the use of E15 throughout the year continues, analysts said. Corn prices have already jumped this year because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Increased ethanol use could contribute to cost inflation for food companies and meat processors, because producers rely heavily on grains such as corn to feed livestock and poultry, according to the National Chicken Council.

“Further and artificial demand for corn created by this administration will likely increase the cost of corn and all food products dependent on corn and corn oil inputs,” said Mike Brown, president of the group, which represents poultry companies.”


Ideas like sustainable farming, biofuels and wind and solar energy are all ideas borne out of the environmental movement, are they not? I wish government would just learn to leave well enough alone instead of listening to day-dreaming ideologues with ideas that can end up making matters worse. Who was it that said that government isn’t the solution, government is the problem? Reagan maybe?

But I guess leaving well enough alone would be asking for too much.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
May 21, 2022 11:03 am

Ethanol is mostly an anti-knock additive these days, with a little bio-green-washing added. You really should be glad…the health effects of tetraethyl lead and MTBE anti knock additives were not good. And it’s really for the benefit of the automotive industry….retarding the ignition instead of adding knock inhibitor would increase gasoline sales due to lowered mileage….Those greedy oil companies would be all in favor of eliminating anti-knock additives….but they’re not…should tell you something…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 21, 2022 1:24 pm

Ethanol lowers gas mileage too. The latest study (Lark, 2022) shows that corn-based ethanol has a breakeven period for CO2 production of ~20 years, switchgrass 2 to 3 years. There is a CO2 pulse from land use changes that almost doesn’t get paid back with corn-based ethanol. There’s an excellent video on the YouTube channel “Engineering Explained” that makes a strong case that corn-based ethanol is a mistake.

Reply to  Meab
May 21, 2022 2:30 pm

Fifteen years ago, I ran calculations on corn-based ethanol. If ethanol were used to fuel its own production, harvesting, transport and processing of ethanol fuel, you would need to plant 10 acres of corn to net one acre’s worth of ethanol to market.

Other crops such as soy do somewhat better, but they are all limited by the same factors that control wind and solar power. Low net Btu yields per acre due to —— it’s the sun, stupid. If we planted every arable acre in biofuels, using biofuels to do the work of production, it would yield only a small fraction of our transportation fuel demand. In the process, we would have no food, feed or fiber and we would see ecological devastation and massive species losses. Of course, demand would quickly drop as we all starve.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 22, 2022 3:08 am

Precisely what are the adverse health effects of tetra-ethyl lead? (Please do not glibly state that it harms the intelligence of children, for that would be an insult to mine.) I had to study the whole field of Pb toxicity when we gained as by-product of a takeover, a levelled car battery plant that was showing jumps of lead in the soil on plots destined for housing.
While there is abundant, credible, accepted evidence that large concentrations of Pb, ingested into the human body, are harmful to lethal, evidence for harm from trace amounts is far from clear. Much of the medical profession has swallowed the party line hook line and sinker, much as large groups have swallowed the climate change trendy topic.
The research was so bad that estimates of lead by mouth ingestion by children ranged over two orders of magnitude, that it, people were using WAG numbers. If you multiply actual harms by a hundred, it is easier to stampede the panicked.
Do you have some links to support your assertions?
Geoff S

Old Cocky
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 22, 2022 2:37 pm

Lead oxides certainly have severe adverse neurological effects, but metallic lead and tetra-ethyl lead seem to be much less so.
Apparently tetra-ethyl lead poisons the platinum in catalytic converters, which may have been a consideration…

May 21, 2022 7:39 am

Is Sri Lanka a case of ‘sustainability’ in action?

Reply to  Bill Sticker
May 21, 2022 9:31 am

First you have to reduce the population so that it is easier to sustain.
Then you take the population that is left and determine which are useful.
The ones with limited usefulness then are relegated to living in pods and eating bugs.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Brad-DXT
May 22, 2022 4:39 am

And we laughingly thought it was just a cute story.

May 21, 2022 9:23 am

“Expect to see genetic engineering pitched as a solution to our food crisis in the very near future…like yesterday, or 2 months ago. That’s how fast they work now with no pretence at concealing the plan. Deutsche Welle said genetically altered ‘climate sheep & eco pigs could combat global heating. The narrative is clearly set: Genetically engineered food will save us all from the food crisis & global warming too. Plus anything else they can think of. We can smell Gates hand in all this.  As Hegelian dialectic inevitably goes, their manufactured ‘problem’ is now in need of their contrived ‘solution.’ 

jeffery P
May 21, 2022 10:02 am

I am reminded of various 5-year plans on improving agriculture yields created by bureaucrats and apparatchiks who never worked a farm in their lives. When will people learn?

May 21, 2022 10:07 am

I think its a great idea. The world can’t be saved without less people inhabiting it as everyone knows. Starvation is the fastest way to achieve that goal and Sri Lanka is leading the way.

peter schell
May 21, 2022 12:02 pm

In the last few months I’ve been remembering the huge death toll caused by Soviet and Chinese farming policies when government right-think trumped reality. I dread that we might be seeing a world wide version of the same thing as we have a perfect storm of unreliable energy and impractical farming methods being mandated.

michael hart
May 21, 2022 12:39 pm

I’ve seen other normally sensible blogs cover the Sri Lankan economic and political crisis without mentioning that the government mandated ‘organic’ farming with no synthetic fertilizers, which is the main reason that 8 billion humans exist and eat today.

Farmers yields dropped. Who would have thunk it.

Jeff M
May 21, 2022 12:48 pm

Sounds to me like the Sri Lankan government tried to do too much too fast. In time, and done right, organic agriculture would feed more people (and nutritiously) and conserve soil fertility. Imagine in the US, if Biden told everyone gas cars are outlawed and everyone would have to buy an electric one. The economy would collapse just as in Sri Lanka.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Jeff M
May 22, 2022 4:39 am

Do you have a degree in agriculture? Are you a farmer? It sure doesn’t sound like it!

Do you have any idea what the labor costs for organic farming would be? Just where do all the inputs for organic farming come from? How do they get applied? What is the drop in per acre output for different crops? How much more agricultural land use is required?

You have no idea do you?

May 21, 2022 5:19 pm

Only a government can screw things up this bad. But I bet they are still real proud of their administrators and bureaucrats. Bunch of numbskulls.

May 21, 2022 10:25 pm

Ah now it is becoming clear what is going on in Sri Lankan. So in order to “SAVE” money on foreign exchange the communist government forced the farmers to grow food organically. Not realizing that this would drop the yields of these crops thereby causing the food shortages and the internal prices for products to increase on the island.
These clowns in charge also forgot the main source of foreign income was from Tea sales and if they stopped fertilizing those crops the amount of foreign currency would also drop.
Now that the whole Sri Lankan economy is in a meltdown and the government has spent ALL of their foreign cash reserves there is no money to buy Fuel, Fertilizer and Food. There is a lower Tea export so the one thing that actually was making them money to buy everything else has been reduced by the lack of fertilizer.
Amazing how these leftist governments continue to get this stuff so wrong. Did nobody happen to look at the past history of like China under Moa when he tired to redo the food production and pest control causing the Great Chinese famine in 1958.

What should be a warning to all governments of this earth is been ignored by most. It has been said by farmers that this is going to be the MOST EXPENSIVE crop ever put in this year with the costs of fertilizer and fuel. Now the US is said that there is a diesel fuel shortage coming due to lack of imports and domestic oil production. The present administration has not shown the awareness or the urgency to make this crop happen so it can be there in the fall for us to eat. By the time it becomes apparent there is a short fall it will too late to do anything about it.

May 22, 2022 1:52 am

An Englsh farmer put out on his Utube cannel, that it would take an increase to 22 billion chickens and an extra 30 million cows to produce enough nitrogen for just The UK to go organic. There is, of course, nowhere to put 22 billion chickens, unless we stored them in somewhere like Africa…… Growing small amounts is very easy, if very time consuming from an organic sense, but the USA wheat fields?????

Roger Knights
May 22, 2022 4:56 am

“Experience keeps a dear [expensive] school, but men will learn in no other.”
—Ben Franklin

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