16 May, 2022

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An Urgent Appeal – We May Be Facing An In Unimaginable Disaster

By Upatissa Pethiyagoda

Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda

I have just seen the TV transmission of today’s proceedings of the Parliamentary debate on The President’s recent Address. I inferred from the remarks of the Minister of Agriculture, that the previously refused shipment of “Organic Fertilizer”, after circling around in Singapore, is now on its way back or has already arrived. It is said that since we have already paid some 7 million US dollars for the rejected shipment. From the far from clear, or coherent words of the Minister, it seems apparent that we may allow the unloading and spread of this condemned stuff – saving our US dollar 7 million (unjustified) payment. This is perilous. I can only speak about the coconut industry.

The coconut world is faced with a deadly and incurable viral (or mycoplasma) disease, under various names – Lethal yellowing (Caribbean), and Cadang- Cadang (Philippines) and other local names elsewhere. We have a milder condition called Weligama Wilt, possibly similar to Kerala Root Wilt, also suspected to be due to a milder mycoplasma. Having seen the situation some 40 years ago, in Jamaica, it is still nightmarish in my mind. Visions of hundreds and hundreds of decapitated coconut trunks or stumps (similar to those seen in the Palmyrah trees in the North and East, devastated by mortar fire), are still vivid.

Sri Lanka, thanks to its rigorous control by Quarantine authorities, has escaped such disaster. The current ill-thought out caper may well destroy it all. Stupidity or corruption holds the Coconut Industry in peril.

This is my reason for hastily seeking action to prevent the possible danger that will certainly destroy our coconut plantations. I may be blamed for being emotional or impulsive. I cannot possibly stand by and watch a pending disaster go unchecked. My conscience does not allow it. I may be staking my reputation – but never mind – this would be a very small price to pay for doing right, in my opinion.

*Dr Upatissa Pethiyagoda – Former Director, CRI

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Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    Thank you Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda for your fervent appeal. I am agonised that it will not be heeded.

  • 5
    5

    Dear Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda,
    .
    Thanks for your brief, hastily written article, with no jokes at the end to demonstrate that you’re a man of culture and of learning.
    .
    Not long ago, you wrote this article, which drew scorn from a Mr Sisira Weragoda,(whom I don’t know), and from Manel Fonseka whom I have never met nor spoken to, but actually do know in certain other ways. Sisira thought you a ridiculous “apolitical intellectual”. Even more than the others, I tried to show you that your knowledge of Shakespeare was not as sound as mine, although it is in village Maha Vidyalayas that I have languished, unlike Diana Gamage whom you seemed to admire.
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/parliamentary-erudition-a-case-of-failed-guile/
    .
    However, you were not to be deterred by all that scorn; you wrote this next article, where you devoted two paragraphs to castigating racism. Fine. But you then turned the entirety of that serious subject into a joke.
    .
    You tried to regale that with your “humour“. No connection with what you began. Not a single comment this time. NO, I didn’t organise a boycott; almost nobody can do that to CT.
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/dispelling-gloom/
    .
    Hopefully, you will stick to subjects like coconut cultivation and fertilisers. You do seem to have “erudition” in those areas.
    .
    Let me hope that those who know much more than me on those subjects will discuss this vitally important area of activity.
    .
    Many thanks for the article.

    .

    .

    • 0
      0

      Panini
      I never thought what you think.
      Regards
      “a Sisira”

      • 0
        1

        Dear “a Sisira”,
        .
        I owe you an apology here. I have already emailed Manel.
        .
        I hope that readers will note that I have unreservedly thanked Dr Upatissa Pethiyagoda for this article. I have said it before; Dr Pethiyagoda is a decent man, with a conscience (as he states here), but he has this habit of regaling us with jokes which may not be appreciated by those Lankans who suffer from a sense of inferiority owing to their poor command of English.
        .
        I feel that these jokes may hurt the sensibilities of some. I felt this particularly about his article on Ragging:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-pathology-of-ragging/
        .
        However, in this instance I have myself been guilty of a worse offence. I have presumed to give interpretations to the comments by Sisira and Manel which I had no warrant to do, and both of them have been upset by this. Manel, in particular, who emailed me as well. She has replied me without rancour. I have focussed on her because I know that it is not now an easy life for her, and she is a person of the highest moral standards.
        .
        “a Sisira” has displayed considerable
        wit in so naming himself. I had already checked on some of his comments, and I find them to be humorous, intellective, and sophisticated. I so named him because I don’t know anything about him, but doing so could sound insulting. He’s right to object, but I’m sure he isn’t a man who is vulnerable.
        .

        .

    • 3
      0

      Hey, Panini!
      Where did the writer draw scorn from me? I have no memory of such a thing. You must have misinterpreted me. I must see what has caused this.

    • 3
      0

      I cant find anything lends itself to your interpretation, Panini.

      • 2
        1

        This fellow Panini is a self promoter is not able to subscribe anything intellectual. He personifies hypocrisy.

  • 5
    0

    Thanks for your timely warning.

  • 4
    4

    Mr. Pethiyagods, Thank you for this expose. This Coconut pest is Like the “Fall Army worm” or Sena Caterpillar that was produced to destroy Food Security in Asia and Africa, a worm produced in US biological warfare labs at Fort Detrick that also produced the SARS Cov-2 Covid 19 virus through Gain of Function Research (GoF) to sell poisonous mRNA vaccines and profit US corporations that also sell insecticide and fertilizer poisons– this is part of the imploding US Empire’s last gasp to re-boot its hegemony globally, also through the Climate Emergency narrative to enable Dirty Oil companies to greenwash themselves as clean green energy companies and make bigger profits while our Agriculture systems are destroyed due to so called Climate Emergency.

    • 4
      3

      From Covid-19 to Cop 26 the permanent Emergency stories to hack all existing energy, food, transport, health, education, information, trade systems the world and Strategic Sri Lanka is in the midst of American HYBRID COLD WAR or Over the Horizon (OTH) , Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD), war operation to take over the island and attack and monitor China in the Indian Ocean.
      This is why we have Covid-19 bioterrorism being compounded with, trade and energy shortages, cyber hacks of the NMRA etc. and live in a State of Permanent Emergency and De-stabilization these days. Of course, the US citizen Rajapakse brothers who work for the American Deepstate and their corrupt and illiterate Ministers like Aluthgamage are also a big part of the problem as the SInhala Buddhist Diaspora is weaponized at this time..

  • 6
    0

    “The current ill-thought out caper may well destroy it all. Stupidity or corruption holds the Coconut Industry in peril.” You’re absolutely right.
    Just because the minister is a Pol Buruwa doesn’t mean he can save our coconut plantations.

  • 2
    1

    lasantha

    you may be right but we have to see the big picture.The peoples bank is blacklisted by china.The error was on our part.The bank has already made a contract for the payment.We cannot make china angry.

  • 9
    0

    Upatissa, I find this story to be much more confusing than the origin of Covid/pandemic. The reason being, both parties involved including the Chinese firm and our govt/ministry for agriculture are well known liars. Especially Mahindanada is a pathological crook/liar by birth. Our govt/ ministry have already given hundreds of versions to the extent MR got mad and warned Mahindananda for going to press contradicting his own BS. Last I heard was $ 7 million was paid which for me is still not clear as penalty or part of payment for the new shipment. If it’s penalty then the firm is richer by 7 million and Minister gets 10%.

  • 7
    1

    When the people of this country brought back the corrupted blood sucking opportunistic Rajapaksa family without any thought about what happened after the war in 2010 and 2015 it is obvious that the country is going towards disaster.

  • 2
    1

    If the coconut production (forgetting other crops) fail due to disease borne fertilizer or not, its just another ‘minor’ setback, added to the misfortunes of covid. To many simple souls, the fault maybe with the positioning of planets or even god’s wrath, all which need offerings to gods & whatever other remedies as advised by the likes of ‘Gnanakka’. No doubt, there will be snake oil merchants, as well, this time offering a holy water concoction to spray on the coconut palms, even promoted & funded by the govt. As for the govt., it may be a godsend to save their thick skins by blaming the economic situation on the new disease but for the suffering citizens, better get used to curries without coconut. It is said that coconut milk is bad for the health, so it may not be so bad after all. We will still be healthier with other organic food.

  • 0
    2

    “…it seems apparent that we may allow the unloading and spread of this condemned stuff “
    *
    Was the condemning for valid scientific reasons?
    Why did retesting not find any harmful bacteria? Was these some tampering with the sampling or in the course of the analysis by vested interests.
    If we were confident that the condemnation was for valid reasons why were we reluctant to accept the challenge of a third party verdict?
    Had we done that we may have had genuine organic fertilizer to apply with less risk than hastily imported synthetic fertilizer called ‘liquid nitrogen’, and distributed to farmers who were not correctly advised on its application, only to achieve crop failure.
    *
    What is bad is that we have taken a route that avoids investigation into how we arrived at two contradictory conclusions. Are other vested interests involved in this too?

    • 0
      2

      Was there some tampering by vested interests– with the sampling or in the course of the analysis?

    • 1
      0

      SJ
      “Why did retesting not find any harmful bacteria? Was these some tampering with the sampling or in the course of the analysis by vested interests.”

      the chinese gave a second sample from another batch produced later.The older batch had the bacteria. The whole ordering process was botched and somebody should be sacked.It won’t happen though if it was the minister who urged getting it quickly.

  • 3
    0

    There is nothing to imagine. The Disaster called the Yellow Peril has already struck right into the Heart of Srilanka. China has got Srilanka in all shackles with the help from amenable Srilankan politicians who would not give two thoughts before they sell their mother and father for half a dime.

    • 1
      0

      hancho pancho

      Have you heard of empires during te old days.All countries were under some empire or other and paid tribute t the empire.Now too there are empires,albeit economic empires that can’t go militarily into sovereign states like in earlier times,and countries have to slot into some empire or other to survive economically.The 3 empires are china,US,EU.India is at the moment too small have its own empire though large enough to be the only country in the world that can resist any economic pressure from them because it is like a growing teen jumbo while the other three are adult jumbos.

      so whther we like it or not we have to become part of one of the 3 empires just like all other countries other than the mini jumbo india..When the rajapakshes are in power we are part of the chinese empire under emperor xi jin ping .When the rajapakshes are not in power we ty to break free of the chinese empire and join the US empire ,but find it difficult especiallywhen emperor Xi jin ping makes decisions on the spot without wasting time consulting others,to give pollannaruwa a grant of 1 billion dollars to build the most modern Kidney patient’s hospital in return for continuing the colombo port city begun under the rajapakshes.

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