Chemical warfare on Sri Lanka
Daily Mirror Editorial
Dec 17, 2011

In the aftermath of the three-day vegetable war which led to countrywide protests by farmers and traders with hundreds of lorry-loads of vegetables and fruits being destroyed, the government needs to look at some ground realities and take effective steps to overcome even more serious crises in the vital agriculture sector.

During the past few decades we have seen a dangerous growth in the use of chemical fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides -- most of which are imported and the usage promoted in sophisticated ways by propagandists of transnational conglomerates.

More than 2,500 years ago – when the billion-dollar profit-makers and promoters of transnational giants were still on trees – agriculture was part of Sri Lanka’s hallowed civilization. There were little or no imports then and agriculture flourished with the use of bio fertilizers including cattle dung.

But with the globalised capitalist market economic system, being swallowed wholesale in 1977, the ground rules were changed. Gradually the farmers ran into subtle brain washing whereby they were encouraged or forced to depend excessively if not totally on imported chemicals. As in most cases of transnational double dealing or deception there were quick short term results. But the long term effects were devastating. For instance Mother Earth has been poisoned or raped. Surveys show that about 60% of the ground water in the north-central province has been polluted because of the excessive use of chemicals. Not only Mother Earth, even the health of millions of people has been affected with thousands known to be suffering from kidney ailments. The productivity of Mother Earth has been gravely affected while the same has happened to the health of the people, thus reducing their productivity also with a dangerously negative impact on the economic development of the country.

Such trends are also seen in other parts of Sri Lanka. As a result, most of us are, most of the time eating polluted or poisoned vegetables or fruits. When such vegetables or fruits are eaten raw or as salads, the effects on the body are worse and that is why most of us are falling sick more often with hospitals being so packed that some of the owners and tragically even some of the medical consultants have become multimillionaires by pickpocketing money from the unsuspecting patients.

The government needs to act fast to educate farmers on the dangers of using chemicals. The farmers also must be encouraged and given incentives to change over to bio farming. This transformation might take some time. In the meantime if people want to ensure they are eating non-polluted or non-poisoned food they need to go back to the good old home garden and grow their own food. This concept was promoted by the Sirimavo Bandaranaike government in the 1970s but it was a difficult task involving hard work, patience and enterprising commitment.

Unfortunately most people seem to prefer the easy, comfortable way and when it came with the change of government in 1977, they quickly moved away from the home garden to large–scale farming with imported chemicals and also to imported food, some of which was known to be processed rubbish which some western countries had declared to be unfit for human consumption.

Another crisis is the growing trend towards genetically modified (GM) food. Here it not only comes easy but also comes big and nice through a process that is known as terminator technology. Transnational food companies are known to be promoting this GM process for items ranging from seed paddy to bananas and papayas. The new variety of bananas being widely marketed now is part of the terminator technology of neocolonialism which is not only uneatable but also unspeakable.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka