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What Sri Lanka (about hunger) teaches the rest of the world about China and ‘bio’ – Corriere.it

The elegant radical environmentalists of Western countries and the Chinese regime are often not associated with a shared responsibility.

Success in Sri Lankawhich leads to dire consequences for this objective collusion.

The country is in the midst of a dramatic crisis that marked its last chapter Violent street protests Which forced the Rajapaksa brothers, President and Prime Minister respectively until a few days ago, to resign and flee. Sri Lanka is a very small country compared to the giants of that region: the island has a population of only 22 million, which is a paltry compared to the 1.4 billion of its northern neighbor India. but she occupies Strategic location along the sea routes of the Silk RoadsMerchants crossed it three thousand years ago, transporting fabrics, spices and precious stones from China to southern Asia, the Horn of Africa and the Mediterranean. Therefore Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) bears traces of an ancient history, from the distant origins of the Indian civilization.

However, due to its location, This island coveted by the Chinese as part of the Belt and Road Initiative expansion planBuilding the infrastructures we also call the New Silk Roads.

Sri Lanka in 2022 is in sovereign bankruptcy, which is not just a financial disaster characterized by the inability to repay debts or obtain new loans: immediately The state does not have the means to pay for imports of food, medicine, and fuel. weight.

Gas station lines are kilometers long. Schools, businesses and offices are almost all closed.

Disaster Predict what could happen in many other poor countries experiencing a food crisis.

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But Sri Lankan has some Very specific reasonsConfusing or indicative depending on your point of view. And the war in Ukraine, with hyperinflation of grain prices, was only a last cause, exacerbating the problems that preceded it for years.

A dirty little secret, almost invisible in international reports, is at the origin of the agri-food crisis starving the population. The Rajapaksa brothers, listening to Western consultants with extreme environmental credentials, They have tried to convert the entire farming of the island to biological farming methods. In the impetus of reform, and yearning for the purity of environmentalists in rich nations, They banned the import of chemical fertilizers on the island. The result was an agricultural disaster of unprecedented proportions, crop collapse and shortages.

Organic farming provides, in the latest state of the art, products that are less polluting but have Much lower productivity to traditional. Put quite frankly, a luxury for the wealthy, unsustainable when applied on a large scale. While modern agriculture using industrial methods and chemical fertilizers is fully capable of feeding the eight billion inhabitants of the planet (as evidenced by the Green Revolution that transformed India from a starving country into a superpower exporting agricultural commodities), the generalization of a biological application will condemn the majority of humanity to starvation.

The vision is believable: The citizens of Sri Lanka were the unintended guinea pigs in this unfortunate experiment. Now they have nothing to eat.

Between the probability of death from starvation, and the possible harm to health from the consumption of foods produced by modern agriculture, they did not hesitate to choose the lesser evil, that is, the second. But Sri Lankans had no choicethe strategic decision on the biography was made by experts who set themselves the task of saving the planet (sacrificing, if necessary, the humanity that inhabits it).

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The other peculiarity of Sri Lanka is: the island falls under the state Countries that slipped from the financial orbit of the West to the orbit of China.

Those who are used to denouncing the crimes of the International Monetary Fund (which in the 1960s and 1970s were the equivalent of the financial arm of US imperialism) should realize that the alternative is not sexy. China has become Sri Lanka’s largest lender, with $12 billion in loans, most of which are mired in ruinous infrastructure projectscathedrals in the desert, perhaps with some merit for the Rajapaksa brothers, and certainly not for the islanders.

China It is not a flexible or permissive creditor. Five years ago, Beijing seized a port built with loans in Sri Lanka, which is now owned by the Chinese.

Xi Jinping is negotiating Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring with a much tougher stance than the IMF would.

The story is instructive and is watched carefully in other parts of the world. The list of countries indebted to China that are already bankrupt or at risk of bankruptcy is growing: Pakistan, Laos and Zambia are among the most dangerous.

The Philippines for new President Marcos has just canceled some requests for loans to China for major railroad business. Not all the new Silk Roads were sprinkled with roses and flowers.

20 July 2022, 13:05 – Change 20 July 2022 | 13:05