20 February 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  •    - Afghanistan
  •    - Bangladesh
  •    - Bhutan
  •    - India
  •    - Nepal
  •    - Pakistan
  •    - Sri Lanka
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 01/15/2018, 09.15


    Colombo, reform the agricultural sector 'to save land and farmers'

    Melani Manel Perera

    Chinthaka Rajapakse is the moderator of the Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform. A review of agricultural policies of the last three years. Among the advances, the ban on herbicides. Among the critical aspects, the requisition of land and the approval of laws for the exclusive benefit of global financial institutions.       

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - Reforming the agricultural sector to save the land and farmers of Sri Lanka. This is the request of Chinthaka Rajapakse, moderator of Monlar (Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform). In the country, he says, "the agricultural and plantation sector is in deep crisis. The government must think seriously and really act to change economic and agricultural policies, which cannot be [addressed] in a disjoint way".

    Monlar also represents 2 thousand families of Tamil Indians who work in the plantations. It is associated with the People Planning Forum (Ppf), an organization that brings together another 6 thousand families of small farmers, of whom 4500 are Sinhala and 1500 Tamil. The environmentalist takes stock of President Maithripala Sirisena's three years of government and thanks him "for the positive changes made to improve the situation of the Sri Lankan small farmers. At the same time, however, very little has been done for agriculture".

    He explains, "80% of the rural population is made up of small farmers, whose lives depend on their land. In 2015 we asked the president to improve the conditions of these people. Their survival is based on the regenerative capacity of nature and on access to natural resources".

    He says over the past three years there has been progress in three areas. “The first is certainly Sirisena's decision to abolish harmful agrochemicals such as glyphosate, a type of herbicide that is the main cause of kidney cancer cases in cultivated areas. We really appreciate this decision, which cannot have been easy given the pressures of the agro-mafias. The second is the decision to shift subsidies from fertilizers to organic farming: this motivated farmers to opt for traditional farming practices. Even if the subsidies were badly managed, the push towards sustainable agriculture is still positive". The third, he adds, "is the launch of a national food program called 'Toxic Free Nation,' to promote crops free from chemicals".

    Despite progress, several critical points remain: "The neo-liberal economic model chosen by the government, which with the free market approach is ruining all good policies. Or large-scale intensive agriculture as proposed by the World Bank which claims that small-scale farming is no longer profitable. This is just a myth created by the global industry giants, who need to trade their products like fertilizers." Then the government "is requisitioning the lands all over the country to give them to international investors. The authorities have created a Land Bank that allows investors an easy life. It is supported by the World Bank that wants to liberalize the territory. Farmers have no alternative but to sell their land due to the decline in productivity due to bleeding agricultural practices".

    All these policies, which are supported by international financial bodies such as "the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, will lead to the complete destruction of the agricultural sector and its employees". The only way to escape ruin, "is to support nature and farmers, apply international treaties on respect and protection of the environment and allow farmers to benefit from their land".

    "We have been fighting for many years - he concludes - for the right to land of farming communities: Tamils ​​of Indian origin living in Sri Lanka as plantation workers have contributed a lot to the development of Sri Lankan exports, but to date they are treated as slaves without rights, including land-based rights, so we ask the government to provide them with 20 parcels of land for permanent dwellings and two acres for crops and to turn plant ownership into villages with sustainable land management. The hilly lands, which are the heart of the country's water resources, should be used to regenerate the forest cover".

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    08/06/2007 SRI LANKA
    Expelling Tamils from Colombo tantamount to ethnic cleansing
    Human rights organisations slam government decision to forcibly repatriate hundreds of Tamils, supposedly without good reasons to be in the capital, to their native village. The authorities claim they had to act for security reasons, but many people charge the government’s action can only widen “the gap between the island’s two main ethnic groups and accentuate Tamils’ marginalisation”

    11/06/2007 SRI LANKA
    Colombo regrets evicting Tamils
    Government expresses regrets over the forced eviction of almost 400 Tamils from the capital, ostensibly for security reasons, saying police made a mistake. After many protests Supreme Court blocks eviction order and removal to northern native villages.

    20/10/2009 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lanka should deal with its past to heal its wounds, Anglican bishop says
    At the annual session of the Diocese of Colombo of the Anglican Church, Rev Duleep de Chickera calls for justice and freedom for Tamil refugees. A year will be devoted to ‘National Reconciliation and Healing’ in 2009-2010. The country’s various religious communities play a fundamental role for the country. Inter-Christian collaboration is particularly important.

    09/02/2009 SRI LANKA
    Christians in the south pray for Tamil war victims
    Initiative called ‘Hope for a distressed people’ is taken in Colombo. Apostolic nuncio visits Jaffma and expresses great concern for Tamils in Vanni area. Suicide attack occurs in a safe zone reception centre. Mingling with refugees, woman blows herself up, killing 23 and injuring 64.

    16/10/2009 SRI LANKA
    War between men and elephants in the central regions of Sri Lanka
    The elephants on the island are now 8 thousand 500. In some areas their raids destroy homes and crops and even claim victims among the population. The example of Diyakepilla village where the inhabitants are forced to spend the night in trees to defend themselves and monitor the fields.

    Editor's choices

    The tears of Chinese bishops. A portrait of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou

    Padre Pietro

    A priest of the official Church, recalls the 88 year old bishop that the Vatican wants to replace with an illegitimate bishop, to please the regime. Mons. Zhuang Jianjian became an underground bishop at the behest of the Vatican in 2006. Card. Zen and Msgr. Zhuang, image of the faithful Church, "which provokes an immense sadness and a sense of impotence". The hopes of card. Parolin to console "the past and present sufferings of Chinese Catholics".

    Card. Zen on the bishops of Shantou and Mindong

    Card. Joseph Zen

    The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong confirms the information published in recent days by AsiaNews and reveals details of his conversation with Pope Francis on these topics: "Do not create another Mindszenty case", the primate of Hungary whom the Vatican forced to leave the country, appointing a successor in Budapest, at the will of the communist government of the time. 


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®