Nitrogen and the people of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is going through some tough times right now, suffering from inflation, shortages, and economic policy failures - the worst since its independence in 1948. Widespread protests began in March.1

What in the world does nitrogen have to do with the political situation in Sri Lanka? Read on to find out.

Sri Lanka population growth

First, here's some background on Sri Lanka's population growth.

Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million, with an average population density of 344 people per square kilometer. The growth rate is 0.42%. In 2000 the population was approximately 18 million, and in 1960 population was just under 10 million. So Sri Lanka's population has essentially doubled since 1960! This reference article contains some useful maps, charts, and graphs.2

The fertility rate is at near replacement fertility of about 2.1 children per woman.3 However, the birth rate has risen in recent years to 17.04 births per 1,000, which has caused the population in the 0-14 year old age bracket to make up 24% of the total population. These children will grow up to have their own children while their parents are still alive. Because of this population momentum, Sri Lanka's population is projected to increase to 22.2 million in 2040 and then decline to a more sustainable number.

So like many countries, Sri Lanka's population has doubled in about half a century.

What's for dinner?

Agriculture is a crucial component of the Sri Lankan economy. More than 70% of the rural population depends on agriculture. Rice is the main crop. Other crops include fruit, vegetables, tea, and oilseed crops. Sri Lanka also produces large quantities of wheat, cotton, poultry, meat, eggs and fishery products.4,5

Yet today there food shortages. Why?

Ban on fertilizer

In April 2021 President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued an immediate ban on chemical fertilizers. Food production dropped dramatically: rice yield alone dropped from 3.39 million tonnes to 2.92 million. Sri Lanka could now run out of food.7

While the move to organic farming was perhaps laudable, there was no training or education on organic farming methods. Prior to the ban the government tried to commercialize farm land. This effort failed, but some believe the ban on fertilizers was to cause hardships on farmers with the ultimate objective of accomplishing the land grab.

The results of the policy are stunningly obvious. Small farmers reported a 50 to 60 percent decrease in crop yield, and the impacts raged through the economy.8 The bottom line is that fertilizer leverages crop production compared to natural, organic farming.

The use of fertilizer has allowed food production to grow in concert with exponential population growth. Pull the plug on fertilizer and suddenly there is less food to feed more people. Indeed, the Sri Lanka situation has been called a "complete collapse."9

The Green Revolution

The Green Revolution started in Mexico in the 1940s and spread worldwide in the 1950s and 1960s. It involved the use of mechanized agricultural technologies, new high-yield crop varieties such as wheat, and the use of fertilizers and pesticides.10

The Green Revolution is often attributed to Norman Borlaug, who developed disease resistant, high yield varieties of wheat. Fertilizers were a necessary component of the Green Revolution because high-yield crops could not grow without fertilizers. Because crop homogeneity made crops more vulnerable to disease and insects, pesticide use also became necessary.

The role of nitrogen

German Nobel Prize-winning scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch created the "Haber-Bosch process" which converts nitrogen gas into ammonia. Ammonia is then used as a fertilizer, which dramatically increases crop yields. By 1913 a commercial fertilizer factory was operational.

The use of fertilizer facilitated world population growth from 1.6 billion in 1900 to more than 7.9 billion people today. If crop yields had stayed at year 1900 levels without the use of fertilizer, the year 2000 crop harvest would have required nearly four times more land to be cultivated. That's half of all the land on ice-free continents. With the use of fertilizer today, only 15 percent of that land is required to feed our growing billions of people 11

The green revolution has won a temporary success in man's war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space. If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise the success of the green revolution will be ephemeral only. Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the "Population Monster."

Our dependence on fertilizer

Today 7.9 billion people are essentially dependent on fertilizer to produce their daily sustenance. The situation in Sri Lanka today shows what happens when fertilizer use is denied. It's not a pretty picture.

World population - of all countries combined - is projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100.12 We're going to need a lot more food and a lot more fertilizer to grow it.

Global conflicts and supply chain disruptions already are having an impact on fertilizer production. A case in point is the Ukraine war. In 2021, 2.4 million tonnes of ammonia was shipped from Odessa. A small fraction of this came from Ukraine; the rest came from Russia. Russia is the second largest producer of urea, ammonia, and potash and the fifth-largest producer of complex phosphates. Yet the war is already disrupting fertilizer production and distribution.13

Fertilizer is but one commodity that a growing population is increasingly dependent upon. Yet many essential non-renewal resources are in short supply.14

Given these constraints, it would make a lot of sense to curtail population growth.


To this day, I enjoy nature, the luxury of undisturbed wilderness, forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and deserts and their wildlife. But I also know that the greatest danger to their perpetuity is the pressure of human population.
- Norman Borlaug



1. Economic Failures Topple Sri Lanka's Government After Months of Protests, Epoch Times, 13 July 2022.

2. Sri Lanka Population 2022, World Population Review.

3. UN Data, Sri Lanka population.

4. Agriculture In Sri Lanka, Major Crops, Soil Types, Agri Farming.

6. Sri Lanka Agriculture Market Trends, Statistics, Growth, and Forecasts, Global Monitor.

7. Sri Lanka reels from rash fertiliser ban, The Guardian, 20 April 2022.

8. Sri Lanka Is What Happens When Countries Fail To Realize Green Policies Don't Work, The Federalist, 14 July 2022.

9. 'Complete Collapse': Here's How ESG Destroyed One Nation's Economy, Daily Caller, 6 July 2022.

10. History and Overview of the Green Revolution, ThoughtCo, 22 January 2020.

11. Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch: The chemists who revolutionized fertilizer production and 'changed the world for the better', Genetic Literacy Project, 29 January 2021.

12. World population projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100, United Nations, 2021.

13. Russia's Ukraine war: Disruption in fertilizer supply, Chemical Industry Digest, 9 March 2022.

14. Book: Blip: Humanity's 300 year self-terminating experiment with industrialism, by Christopher Clugston, 2019.


Additional reading

Sri Lanka Is Just The First To Topple In Globalists’ Green Energy House Of Cards, by: J.B. Shurk, The Federalist, 18 July 2022.

The Green Revolution Its Demographic and Environmental Consequences, by David and Marcia Pimentel, The Social Contract, Summer 2002.

Food, Energy, and Society Options and Solutions, by David and Marcia Pimentel, The Social Contract, Summer 2002.

Who Will Feed the Third World? by Elizabeth Brown, The Social Contract, Summer 1995.

A Post-Malthusian View of Malthus, by Lindsey Grant, The Social Contract, Spring 1998.

The Evolution of Environmental Policy - Part 1, by Otis Graham, ;The Social Contract, Winter 2000-2001.

Book: Food, Energy, and Society, by David Pimentel, 2007.


Globalists Celebrate Their Perfectly Executed Destruction of Sri Lanka - Is Your Country Next (Video), RAIR Foundation USA, 13 July 2022:

According to the WEF, everything was going great in Sri Lanka, but what are we seeing four years later: bankruptcy, inflation, default, shortages of food, shortages of commodities, shortages of fuel, and violence in the streets. ...

To the global economic elite, Sri Lanka was the pearl of Asia, explains Glenn Beck. In 2018, The World Economic Forum praised the country in an article entitled: This is how I will make Sri Lanka rich by 2025. Not surprisingly, the article has also been quietly removed....

Sri Lanka was to concentrate on a social economy, spending millions on the transformation to a new kind of capitalism. They would double down on green energy, any of this sound familiar?” ...

And now that their country is collapsing, the organizations that supported them and pushed them in that direction – the organizations that pushed and supported this “transformation,” including the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Economic Forum just walked away....

Watch video in original article.

Agenda 21/Agenda 2030 There is No Difference, by Tom DeWeese, American Policy, 4 October 2017.

Stop Agenda 2030, John Birch Society.

Agenda 2030, UN.

Video: Sri Lanka Crisis - What is Going on in Sri Lanka? Agenda 2030:


"The Sri Lankan tragedy is a cautionary tale for the US and other Western countries, who are implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals & “Building Back Better” at warp speed. This great central planning experiment is no different in its nature than those of the past, and will inevitably fail. Collectivist utopias ultimately self-destructively collapse under a pile of their own delusions. 

Hopefully, we don’t have to relive the horrors of the past to relearn this lesson from history."