10/17/2008, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Colombo asked for new economic policy against hunger

by Melani Manel Perera
The initiative comes on the occasion of World Food Day, to make food production more efficient and healthy by involving the population.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - For World Food Day, yesterday, October 16, the Sri Lanka group Campaign for People’s Solutions to Food Crisis (CPSF) launched practical initiatives to combat food shortages, by involving the entire population.

"We should call it World Foodless Day," says the CPSF, recalling the food crisis striking Sri Lanka, together with the entire world. Sandun Thudugala, one of the leaders of the group, explains to AsiaNews that "Sri Lanka is no exception, and is one of the hardest hit as here in Sri Lanka, the rise of food prices during the past year was unprecedented. Millions of children along with their mothers are suffering from malnutrition and anemia. The food crisis coupled with all other ills ailing the country has pushed all good hopes for a better future for Sri Lanka over the edge."

The CPSF has started collecting signatures in support of the proposals that they want to submit to the government. Outside the Colombo train station, they approached people to discuss the problem and distributed thousands of flyers detailing the proposals.

Thudugala explains that they want "to hand over this petition by December of this year, to the government. Until then we are conducting many programs to make people aware of this crisis. The petition 'Statement of people's organizations on high food prices: time for a comprehensive shift in economic policy' presents our suggestions for solving the current food crisis. It has already reached 16 districts across Sri Lanka, seeking the support and recognition of the masses. People from all walks of life, the rural, urban and the estate sector populations in their thousands have already approved the aforesaid alternative list of suggestions so far."

The activists are critical of globalization, free trade, the "green revolution," seen as insufficient for addressing hunger and malnutrition in the country.

Instead, together with 250 other groups, they are promoting "a complete transformation of agriculture," which must be changed into "ecological agriculture that will restore the regenerative capacity of nature." Against the monopolies in farming and distribution, emphasizing small landowners, fishermen, herders, and all other small food producers. "In order to ensure food for all, including the poor and low income people."

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