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How the agro-chemical racket started - EDITORIAL

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5 March 2016 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In our editorial yesterday, the Daily Mirror focused on what may be an important turning point in Sri Lanka’s history-- the mission to make Sri Lanka a ‘Wasa visa nathi’ country by gradually switching from agro-chemicals to organic fertilizer for agriculture. The National Farmers’ Association leader and JVP member Namal Karunaratne, in a TV interview on Friday acknowledged that farmers were aware that the imported agro chemicals were poisoning Mother Earth and worse still poisoning Sri Lanka’s people including children who would be the next generation. He said the farmers were still demanding the subsidized chemical fertilizers because they could not make or had no way of buying large stocks of organic fertilizers such as compost or cow dung fertilizers. For his information, large stocks of cow dung fertiliser at Rs. 100 a kg pack are available at the Oblate Mission Services Centre, Telephone 07777 11044. Nutrition specialist Dr. Damayanthi Perera, during the same TV programme warned that the donation of chemical fertilizer to farmers was like a death donation not only to the farmers but to all people of the country. 


Today the Daily Mirror spotlights how this international agro chemical racket began about 60 years ago after the Second World War and the Korean War. The transnational chemical corporations – known to be the second biggest profit makers in the world – did not have a big market for their chemical weapons. So they manufactured chemical fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides. The third world was the main dumping ground for them. Like the forbidden apple, the imported agro chemicals were tempting because they produced big harvests, while the long-term effects were not seen. Today Sri Lanka has seen the consequences, especially in the rice bowl areas, where most of our Mother Earth is polluted or poisoned. As a result most of the rice, vegetables, fruits and other food items are polluted or poisoned. That means we are consuming a little poison with every meal and that may be the reason why most of us are falling sick more often and hospitals are more crowded than marketplaces. The most devastating effect is on our children. In the West, food and nutrition models have failed so disastrously that they see a growing number of instances where children are dying before their parents largely because of a bad diet and lifestyle. If Sri Lanka does not turn around now it may be too late. 


Last year, despite pressure from vested interests, the national government banned the weedicide glyphosate which was used mainly in the tea plantations. Many were the warnings that the tea industry would be ruined. But today grass cutters are being used to tackle the weedicides and no major damage has been caused to the tea crops though the industry is facing a crisis because world prices are low. 


In a report from Brussels on Thursday, Reuter news agency said the European Union was expected to extend approval next week for weed-killer ingredient glyphosate, used in many herbicides including Monsanto’s Roundup, despite a dispute between EU and UN agencies over whether it caused cancer. Experts from all 28 member states will hold a closed-door meeting next Monday and Tuesday in Brussels and appear set to endorse a European Commission proposal to extend authorization of glyphosate for 15 years until 2031. Ahead of the meeting, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which advises EU policy-makers, issued an opinion that glyphosate was unlikely to cause cancer. That conclusion was at odds with the view of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the difference between them has stoked a fierce debate. Environmental campaigners want a ban. In a statement, Greenpeace said governments should oppose renewing the EU licence for glyphosate “as long as uncertainty remains over the risks it poses”. We hope Sri Lanka will not bow to pressure from Europe or the United States to lift the ban on glyphosate. 


In India, most farmers are now facing the toxic consequences of the so-called Green Revolution. Some six decades after the Green Revolution enabled India to feed itself, farmers are turning their backs on modern agricultural methods—the use of modified seeds, chemical fertilizer and pesticides—in favour of organic farming. This is not a matter of producing gourmet food for environmentally attuned consumers but rather something of a life-and-death choice in Indian villages, where the benefits of the Green Revolution have been coupled with unanticipated harmful consequences from chemical pollution. 


We hope Sri Lanka takes the right lessons from these. 


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Order Gifts and Flowers to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Kids Toys, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,Astrology, Courier/Delivery, Medicine Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka

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Order Gifts and Flowers to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Kids Toys, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,Astrology, Courier/Delivery, Medicine Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka

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