Sri Lanka’s newly elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday said that the crisis-hit island nation is likely to face a potential food shortage from August, NewsWire reported.

The development came as Sri Lanka defaulted on its debts for the first time in its history as the government struggles to halt its worst-ever economic crisis. An inflation rate spiralling towards 40% along with shortages of medicines, milk powder, cooking gas, kerosene and other essential items has sparked nationwide protests.

On Friday, Wickremesinghe warned of a food crisis due to a shortage of fertilisers for the upcoming rice cultivation season.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had banned all chemical fertilisers last year in April, a decision that was revoked after it led to drastically low yields, reported Reuters. However, no substantial imports have yet taken place after the government reversed the ban.

“From August there is the possibility of a food crisis in Sri Lanka,” Wickremesinghe said, according to NewsWire. “That is about the same time that a global food crisis will also unfold. We have to see how we will survive till about March next year.”

Earlier in the day, authorities also shut down schools and asked public officials not to commute to work in an attempt to mitigate their crippling fuel shortage, the Associated Press reported. Thousands of residents have been queuing up in long lines to obtain fuel.

On May 16, Wickremesinghe had warned that the nation has run out of petrol and warned that the residents could face more hardships in the coming months. He had warned that residents could suffer power outages for as long as 15 hours a day.

The economic crisis forced the president to appoint Wickremesinghe as the island nation’s prime minister on May 12 after a week of violent clashes between government supporters and protestors killed nine and wounded more than 300. The president’s elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, quit as the prime minister on May 9 as the violence escalated.

Rajapaksa swore in nine Cabinet ministers on Friday in an attempt to stabilise the government after successive resignations, AP reported. The new ministers include four independent lawmakers, three from the ruling party and two from the Opposition.