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Spiraling Food Crisis Hits Sri Lanka as Farmers Abandon Fields

An economic meltdown, the most dire since the nation achieved independence from the British in 1948, has taken a severe toll on the agriculture sector. 

A farmer rests during the seedling planting in a paddy field in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka, earlier this month.

A farmer rests during the seedling planting in a paddy field in Bandaragama, Sri Lanka, earlier this month.

Photographer: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg
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For R. Daranagama, a 70-year-old rice farmer, the past year ranks among the most difficult of his life. 

As Sri Lanka battles its worst economic crisis in decades, Daranagama has barely touched his four-acre field this season. Without access to fertilizer, he and other farmers expect crop yields to slump, threatening food supplies across a nation already pushed to the brink.