Re-generative agricultural farmers felicitated in Uva


Re-generative agricultural farmers felicitated in Uva

The felicitation of hundred farmers in the Uva Province engaged in
preserving and promoting indigenous rice varieties was held in
Badalkumbura, Katugahagalge village community centre recently.

The chief guest at the occasion was Kumarasiri Ratnayake Minister of
Irrigation, Highways, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs of the Uva
Provincial Council.

Agricultural scientists, medical practitioners and food technologists
are of the view that our traditional rice varieties, such as Suwandel
and Heenati have medicinal value. Kurakkan, Meneri, Green gram and Kollu
are nutritious. That is what our grandmothers fed us in the villages in
Moneragala or Hambantota.

G.A. Prabath Kumara CEO of Future In Our Hands and Programme Director
of Uva Farmers Collective of Poison-Free Agriculture said – the month of
March 2011 was important from many view points.

Firstly, International Women’s Day fell in March. Women are the core
members with regard to agriculture, according to Sri Lankan culture.
Women are a part of Sri Lanka agriculture, because in paddy and Chena
cultivation it is women who nurture the seeds.

Secondly, President Mahinda Rajapaksa initiated the one million
household economic units also in March. He was able to touch the pulse
of the common man, in the village and plantation together.

Further the President was able to tackle, not only the economic
factor, but also the nutritional factor collectively.

The Uva Farmers Collective (UFCPFA) position is that the President
and the Ministry of Economic Development should take further steps to
ensure that seeds should not be hybrid, but that local seeds should be
used. Farmers should use only compost as fertilizer, not hazardous
chemicals, in farming. If this issue is addressed it will be the answer
to ecological economics too. Thereby the President’s dream of the
‘Wonder of Asia’ will then become a reality.

K. Sunil Shantha, Manager, Movement for National Land and Agriculture
Reforms (MONLAR) said – During the last 30 years, MONLAR was engaged in
advocating policies on land reform in village and plantations.

Therefore, every government should treat farmers and fishermen, as
the centre of land rights, that is why we support the land issue in
Panama and the fishermen’s issue in Negombo, without hesitation.

Farmers, fisherfolk and plantation workers, should unite and
collectively fight for their land rights.

The long history of cultivation, the presence of cultural diversity
and the wide range of ecological landscape situations present in the
country have resulted in a wide variety of farming practices in Sri
Lanka.

As rice farming is not an overnight wonder, it has evolved while
facing challenges imposed by nature like drought, flood, cyclone,
epidemics etc. Thus, these skills include various types of best
practices, which could be adopted where rice cultivation is concerned.

The writer is a civil activist and environmentalist

 

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