24 September, 2019

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Does Sri Lanka Need A Dairy Or Beef Industry?

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana

Every one has heard of how large numbers of imported cows have died causing severe problems to the dairy farmer. A recent report entitled “Importing exotic cows which performed poorly under local conditions” by Ananda Wickremasinghe appeared in the last Sunday Times.

In the 1970s, when I was a Director of the Leather Products corporation (“Lanka Sam”) there was discussion that “Lanka Sam” should have its own livestock and dairy farm to ensure a supply of cattle skin. This was then linked with the national program and the minster, Mr. T. B. Subasinghe, requested me to contribute my views on it.

My report was that of the odd man out, as I recommended that NO state-sponsored dairy  or cattle farming should be initiated in Sri Lanka, while householders or a farm may have  small-scale operations with no state inputs except regulation. My submission was rejected as everyone else supported developing an indigenous dairy and cattle industry. At the time, one factor in my mind was the report from the club of Rome on the “Limits to growth”. These were later overcome by the success of the Green Revolution in feeding the people, although with considerable expansion of the land area and water via large irrigation schemes.

However, human greed has no limits., and new “limits to growth” have come about due to the Luddite attitudes of humans who have romantically and nostalgically turned back to the failed methods of the past for solving global problems.  My objections to dairy in the Sri Lankan context at that time have now proved to be  accurate.

The objections are based on the following reasons.

(I) There is now (and there was then) a glut of milk production in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand  and other countries with large areas of pasture land and low-density human populations. Sri Lanka is a densely populated country and further encroachment of the natural habitat for raising  cows  is something we CANNOT afford to do, as we can hardly meet the needed housing and food production for the increasing population. The urban encroachment has now transformed the country into asphalt and concrete. Even the Wilpattu has been razed to build houses.

(ii) Lanka’s cost of production per litre of milk or  kg of beef is actually much more than for the US or NZ farmer. It is much cheaper to import their product and save our land which is at a premium.

(iii) Pasture maintenance requires large fertilizer and water inputs, as well as antibiotics for the animals. A Sri Lankan scientists who emigrated to Australia is an authority on pasture lands and fertilizer usage. He has researched the gradual degradation of the lands there.  I was proud to hear that he  was briefly one of my chemistry students in the early 1960s!

(iv) Production of meat and animal milk costs a lot of resources compared to producing vegetables, lentils and such legumes. Meat production requires a much higher amount of water than vegetables. IME  (see attached table) claims that  1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water whereas to produce 1kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 litres of water. One may imagine that to produce one litre of milk, only one litre of water is needed. But  the cow has to drink much more water to survive to produce one litre. Also, the water used to grow the grass or fodder must be counted in. Thus one needs some 1000 liters of water to produce one litre of milk. That is a factor of 1000. In the case of beef, it is a factor 15,000 or more!

(v) All monocultures, be it planting tea, or rubber, or raising cattle as the unique “crop” is ecologically bad practice. Livestock should be raised as an integrated farming effort and not as the unique objective, as in factor farms for livestock.

Furthermore, grazing animals need a lot of land, and to grow the fodder. A rough rule  is that  two cows need an acre of good pasture. Dairy needs more land than beef cattle, often kept corralled for intensive farming. Grazed dairy cattle tend to need less antibiotics simply because they produce less milk. Having a high energy feed results in high milk output; however, increased milk output also increases the animal’s physiological stress, leading to a higher incidence of health problems and infectious diseases. Their effluent poisons the ecosystem.

So, ecological reasons strongly favour the vegetarian diet and lifestyle. Even if one is not a strict vegetarian, it is better to adopt a diet high in vegetables and legumes (lentils, peas, “kadala”, mung etc). Milk is a nutritious food, but many civilizations did not use it. The famous China-food study showed that rural Chinese are quite healthy, long lived and did not use milk or much meat. The same was true of most farming societies of the past.

Although milk can play an important role in the diet,  I am advocating that Sri Lanka doesn’t need to produce the milk.

Sri Lanka  can import milk products much more cheaply than  producing them. One must count the huge costs involved in habitat loss, need for large amounts of land and water to produce something available cheaply in the global market. The elite rich  will want their fresh milk,  fresh butter and bottled “spring water”, just as they clamour for  “vasha-visha naethi organic food” or double cream from Devon. They can pay premium prices for them, and  there will always be a niche market for such goods

Sri Lanka, or any other country, must first worry about being self-sufficient in staple foods, energy and water. Its primary duty is to safeguard its eco-system and bio-diversity. One may argue that “ local dairy production,  beef and pork industries have tremendous potential” if their negative impact is ignored. Almost invariably, such farming becomes intense factory farming which is ecologically and morally unacceptable; animals must be treated humanely.

Today,  no country can   produce everything a modern society needs.  A strategic policy for milk foods is to import powdered milk and some fresh milk which are  inexpensive in the world market. The land resources targeted for dairy should be directed to the production of varieties of Thora (Lentils) and other legumes, while leaving 15% of the cultivated land as wilderness.  Protein sources can be further increased by improving the fisheries sector at a time when foreign trawlers exploit Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.

[Water consumption (rounded) for food items in litres.  Source: IME]

Chocolate        1 kg     17,200

Beef                1 kg     15,400

Sheep Meat     1 kg     10,400

Pork                1 kg     6,00

Butter              1 kg     5,600

Chicken meat   1 kg    4,300

Cheese             1 kg     3,200

Olives              1 kg     3,000

Rice                 1 kg     2,500

Cotton      1 @ 250g    2,500

 

Pasta (dry)       1 kg     1,900

Bread               1 kg     1,610

Milk                 1 litre   1,020

Apple               1 kg      800

Banana             1 kg     800

Potatoes            1 kg     290

Cabbage            1 kg     240

Tomato             1 kg      210

Egg                   1           200

Tea     1 x 250 ml cup    30

Unfortunately, while Sri Lanka is rampant with malnutrition, the leading discussion in agricultural strategy has been an elitist drive. It has been  politicized by public fear-mongering to campaign for “Toxin-free” (Vasha-Visha naeth)  food while living in an environment of exhaust fumes, particulate pollution and exploding garbage dumps.  It is an urban myth that “organic food” is  “toxin free”, as the food or milk is usually WORSE than the soil used, due to bio-accumulation of toxins during plant or fodder growth. Organic harvests are a factor of  5 or more SMALLER than from scientifically managed farms. In my articles I  have attempted to counter the false propaganda that Sri Lanka’s  vegetables and rice have pesticide residues,  that make them dangerous. Similar fear-mongering propaganda about milk and its contaminants have been rampant in the Sri Lankan press recently

It has been falsely alleged that glyphosate causes the kidney diseases that is endemic in some parts of the North Central Province in Sri Lanka.  A misguided witch hunt against glyphosate is being enacted in the US courts, using juries selected from a frightened public.

Given that organic food (which includes Organic beef)  is less than 2% of the world food production, it can only service a small niche market for the rich. Organic pastures and cattle farming require extended land  area to make up for low  production. Organic methods use tilling and digging of the soil  to control weeds. Thus organic farming and dairy take  a tremendous toll on water and land resources, while triggering increased soil erosion.

The threat of  global warming makes mandatory for us to always choose the ecologically sound approach with a smaller climate imprint. Dairy and cattle farming, or any type of farming which involves monocultures  have  extremely high negative  impacts and they should be avoided as far as possible, especially in densely populated countries.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    3

    You are talking about large commercial cattle farms. Cancers are known to cause 40% of the cancers. But, see North Indian they consume mostly fermented Milk in their food. They do not have cancers. Besides differently processed – fermented milk (curd, cheese. Lassi) etc., are not causing Asthma, high cholesterol or heart ailments as coconut milk do. Those days, Many rural villagers had Buffaloes who spending the day in muddy places and they were very useful. they did need expensive maintenance.
    Politicians did not buy Milk cows from India or Pakisthan, instead they went for COMMIS. Besides, that Particular politician who bought only 2700 cows from Australia did not bring bring the balance 2300. Probably, those cows needed lot of chemicals to keep their m,ilk production high, their stomachs are not used to Grass instead they needed MAIZE imported. Even their teeth may be too soft to hard MAIZE seeds produced locally.
    Srilanka does not need BEEF production. It is against the majority culture. People living in other countries respect the majority culture. Only in Sri Lanka, the minorities want Majority to respect and live the minority culture.
    Milk when consumed properly when consumed properly is very nutritious. Dried Skim Milk are used in the west only in Cakes and sweet foods and never drink with TEA or Coffee. So, Sri lankan have created another specific Product need and those manufacturers that is NESTLE, SAPUTO, and MUSLIMS have created it.
    Do not blame politicians. they say YES to anything if it helps they themselves. Sri lankan politicians are at the lowest rank among the politicians in the world. Evens some African countries have advanced passing Sri lanka. Until very recent times, they were far far behind us.
    YOur report was wrong. You considered the western commercial farming and did not consider about the Old Sinhala cultuire in which every house had few cattle which gave GOMA for the house – floor, milk for the family, Curd was a delicacy.

    • 0
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      Sorry, I wanted to say that Food that we consume are responsible for 40% of the cancers. Sri lanka had Dairy but not meat long ago. As the author says we do not need DAIRY and MEAT industry. He is correct. But we need milking cows and dairy product. LACTOSE intolerqance is with milk but Curd or fermented milk do not cause LActose intolerance. See how Indians consume milk in the form of fermented milk. Dried skim milk also can cause problems. Dried and flavoured Skim Milk is UNIQUE to SRI LANKA. I think what PROF suggest is IMPORT All those outside as we do not have enough lands for that. ANOTHER – “CHEERING FOR GLYPHOSATE” LIKE CAUSE.

      • 0
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        Professor Dharme,
        “Sri Lanka can import milk products much more cheaply than producing them. One must count the huge costs involved in habitat loss, need for large amounts of land and water to produce something available cheaply in the global market. ” Then, logically this leads to the question ” why are we growing rice when it can be imported cheaply?”. Not everything is as black or white as you say, dear Prof.

        • 0
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          Jimmy doesn’t read what he jumps the gun. The author says we must be self-sufficient in the staples. Rice is a staple. Milk is not. I rememebr his stuff about urea and cows.

      • 2
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        Buddhism and Hinduism – the faith of 86 % of the population forbids the consumption of Animals. Hence the Transformation from the current meat-based diet to a vegetarian -should be seamless. Until the arrival of Arabs and Europeans – Sri Lankas were vegetarians for the most part. Only the Rodiya caste ate meat. The WHO ( World Health organization ) in 2012 released a report citing Meat ( Animal products ) is the number one cause of Cancer. Basically Animals products do not decay in the system . It gets stuck in the colon, people get fat and constipated. This leads to limited blood circulation, cancer ( an attempt by red blood cells to get out of the body ) and death.

    • 0
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      JD/ Jimmy
      So there was a lot of “goma” in your old Sinhala house? Deiyo saakki !!!. That’s how it got into your skull!!

  • 2
    1

    Water requirements for agriculture changes depending on their practices. As your data includes Olive like products too, I do not think your Statistics are applicable to Sri lanka.
    The west, even new zealand and Australia I suppose grow Cattle and chicken in closed spaces. Those animals are not free Range. For example, If the west buys their MEAT and Chicken requirement from Mexico or from Africa as those countries are warm the cost would be cheaper. In warm countries they can produce these meats very cheap. Even then Canada and USA grow those foods within their country. Anyway, they do not think only about the cheaper cost as Srilanka goes even for Rice.

    .

    • 0
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      The water requirements are if anything higher for tropical countries due to higher losses from evaporation, and there is a higher need of drinking water for the animals. So the numbers given by the Prof. indicate that dairy and beef are things that the state should NOT get involves or encouraged.
      But If individual farmers integrate their livestock with other farming, that is good farming practice. I think the writer supports that. However, contrary to what most people say, he seems to be against organic farming. May be he needs to explain himself more in regard to that.

      • 1
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        Livera: there is something called sustainable Agriculture, sustainable Technology etc., Srilanka had cattle and buffaloes earlier too. MEAt came only after Porteugeuse. Buffaloes for agriculture and Indian cows for milk should be improved and not australian cows for Commis.

  • 6
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    Cows are imported to Sri Lanka because some politician was interested in collecting commissions. They are not interested in the dairy industry or in the environment or any of the high-fangled things that this Prof is discussing. He writes very valuable cutting-edge scientific stuff in all his articles. But he should by now realize that the country is run by a bunch of crooks.

  • 3
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    CD: Thanks but most ADULT Lankans,, like many Asian and African populations are LACTOSE INTOLERANT, but do not know it!
    Sri Lanka now has an epidemic of GASTRITIS due to adult over-consumption of milk-based products like cheese and wheat – gluten products. Pizza and Pasta are the worst things to eat. This is because Lankas now- in the IMF-WB Middle Income Country Debt trap- ape Caucasian /western diet and consumption patterns with lots o wheat and milk products. Caucasians can digest milk and wheat better than Asian and African populations.
    Also, What about “Food Security” and buying local produce which is environmentally sound and reduced transport costs and green house gas?! EU and US heavily subsidize their dairy industry and farmers.
    Finally, must be paid by the global food and pesticides corporations?.!

    • 0
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      Shamil
      There has been NO such study showing that most sri lankans are lactose intolerant. Sri Lankan babies since the 1950s have been raised on Lactogen, Co&Gate and other baby milk products. The return towards breast feeding again started only more recently.
      If there is a study on lactose intolerance by Sri lankans, quote it

  • 1
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    Thanks Chandre you are dead on that “Protein sources can be further increased by improving the fisheries sector at a time when foreign trawlers exploit Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.”
    Distant water Fishing States (DWFS) form France, Spain, EU, Japan, Korea and Taiwan which have over-fished the Indian Ocean and depleated the Indian Ocean Tuna stock and should be BANNED from fishing in the Indian Ocean, so that fish stock can recover and poverty and debt trapped Indian Ocean rim communities can harvest and benefit from Indian Ocean resources.
    France has signed a CORRUPT Deal with the Corrupt fisheries Ministry of Sri Lanka to send its trawlers to fish in Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone waters and destroy local fishermen’s livelihoods

  • 6
    3

    After having given ‘Buddhism The Foremost Place’ in our constitution, it will be a violation of the Buddhist/Hindu Principles and a violation of the constitution too, to promote beef industry in Srilanka-especially by the government. Hence let us all turn vegetarians (like me) and and use the farmlands to grow more vegetables.
    If the Srlankans have taken oath not to consume Heroin and other drugs, why not take an oath to consume only vegetables. No more Killings of Animals other than Humans either by murder (with no Inquiry there after) or official hanging of prisoners by the president .

    • 4
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      Who runs the beef industry? Who is the local butcher? Either it is a Muslim fellow or a tamil from the so-called “low castes”. The Sinhalese Buddhists pay lip service to “ahimsa” but they will go and ask for the best cut.
      The Muslim fellow kills the cows in the most painful manner following medieval “halal” method.
      When the Sinhalese Buddhists or even worse, the Sinhalese Chirstian or Colombo set get together they must have the beef Baedung or Pork Baedung with lots and lots of Arakku or even Kassippu. As the names “Arakku”, “Kassippu” show, they were introduced into Sri Lanka by the Malabar Tamils (i.e., virtually all the Tamils of the North, who were brought to this country to work in the Dutch tobacco farms) who became christianized. The best kassippu is found in the Catholic areas. Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese invader, the country was largely free of alcohol and meat eating. The main alcohol was the toddy from the Palmyrah or Coconut. The Birtish opened Tavers in every village, to debilitate rural society and subjugate itr better.

      • 1
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        Walagamapa

        ” The British opened Taverns in every village, to debilitate rural society and subjugate it better..” Friend, the British left in 1948 and you had all the time in the world to change the equation. Why didn’t your Maha Sangha – the saviours of Jaathiya and Aagama for 2,500 years – take action to save the Sinhala Buddhists for so long. What is the situation today? Arrack and Kasippu consumption in almost the entire country has gone up several fold. It is one of the biggest source of Govt revenue. BTW, Arakku is not a Tamil word. The brew in Tamil is called Saarayam. Kassippu is a vulgarised form of the word Kasappu (bitter) What on earth is Malabar Tamils??? Either it is Malayalee (from Kerala) or Tamil from Tamilnadu. Apparently, your deep anti-Indian venom has reached delusional proportions.

        Kettikaran

        • 0
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          Kettikaran
          What about your kururals who run kovils? They too had time since the British left in 1948. But what do you guys do? You get the air-force caste (those who go up on trees) to tap toddy and your “navy” caste (fisher folk and the smugglers) are the biggest bootleggers. I know how they bring stuff down in bots along the western coast down along the mannar coast to kalpitiya area. Everytime there was a peace accord, the LTTE and its supporters came and extorted Kappan money from the Kassipu business and drug business that they supported. Now that the LTTE is gone, all those crooks have to find another means to maintain their high standard of living. So all those LTTE hangers on, and various violent groups linked to the North turned to drugs and crime. Your North was under the thumb of Caste oppression before the war, and now under the thumb of violent gangs. So clean up before you give advise to the Maha Sanga. their job is not to clean up your mess, or the British mess.

          • 0
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            Walagamba!
            Cast ‘oppression/’distinction is adequately amplified in the Matrimonial advertisement pages of the Sunday Times. If you haven’t looked at it look at it this Sunday please.
            Violent gangs have been created by the government forces to continue their stay there.

            • 0
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              K. Anga
              So these violent gangs that you think are created by the government have ex-LTTE leaders operating from Switzerland getting their Jaffna Youths to make sex prono films of children so that they can sell them at crazy prices to the European perverts and continue their high life style they enjoyed when the LTTE was flourishing?

              • 0
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                I am not thinking – it is a fact. If not’ with so much of army in the Northern district how can they smuggle so much of drugs? Allow 100 to come in and arrest 10.

          • 0
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            Our friend Walagamaba is well off the mark. I am not going to give him a chance to turn this into a Sinhala-Tamil mini-war. BTW, I agree with his comments “Your North…” which the Sinhala Govt, Sangha and Army – for no good reason – still has to come to terms with. Only correction I wish to add is it should read as “Your North-East” If this can be accomplished almost all of our problems in this ethnic debate will be over and we can commence the more important task of economic and Nation building.

            Kettikaran.

  • 0
    0

    When you look at the water consumption,better not have a beef industry here.We can grow so much vegetables and fruits instead which require only a small water consumption. Dairy can be done i think because beef is 15 times more than dairy where water is concerned.

  • 3
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    “Even the Wilpattu has been razed to build houses.”
    Have you been there?
    Don’t get sentimental, it is much unlike you especially when you defend glyphosate and other hazards.
    *
    If as the learned man says, dairy and cattle farming, or any type of farming which involves monocultures have extremely high negative impacts, should not he direct the sermon at those who practice them?
    India is self-sufficient in milk today. Does it not have lessons for us?
    *
    What is the moral of the narrative?
    Import all milk?

  • 0
    1

    Chandre Dharmawardana here poses the question “Does Sri Lanka Need A Dairy Or Beef Industry?”
    Chandre provides the Chandre-answer.
    .
    Towards the tail end Chandre rubs it in “……. A misguided witch hunt against glyphosate is being enacted in the US courts, using juries selected from a frightened public…….”.
    Surely he knows that few days back Monsanto was ordered by an US Court to pay a cancer victim US$80 million.
    Disgusting man!

  • 1
    1

    Dear Mr Dharmawardana,

    Very informative article indeed. But with all due respect I have to disagree with your statement that importation of Milk is a better and cheaper option than developing SL’s dairy industry.

  • 0
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    Environmentalists are talking how Amazon forests are being cut everyday in order to feed Beef Cattle. The other thing is UN recently, amidst much rants from Humongous Cattle farmers in the west for Beef industry, claimed that BEEF can cause Heart diseases.
    Milk causes problems but never by, example is North Indian food style which uses fermented milk in daily meals. is cancer free and people are healthy and free of cancers.

    • 0
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      to JD
      Milk in any form does not cause cancer. Neither the WHO nor any other qualified organization has stated that milk causes cancer. So forget it.
      But red meat or wine or sausages cause cancer. That is stated by the WHO, FAO and also the IARC (International Agency for research into cancer) which listed red meat, wine, sausages etc as CLASS ONE carcinogens.
      Cell-phone radiation and glyphosate are both listed as CLASS TWO carcinogens. That is, there are NOT proven to cause cancer, but there is a chance that at sufficiently high doses it does cause cancer.
      So neither glyphosate, nor cell phones should be banned and they are on the same level of risk, if at all there is a risk at the very safe levels used.
      So, why do these US courts put up hefty fines against Bayer and Monsanto?
      As some one commented in response to a previous article that this Professor had written, the Americans have hundreds of court causes, even today, against teaching the theory of evolution, and some of those court cases have prohibited teaching evolution. That doesn’t mean that the theory of evolution is wrong.
      Some court cases have ordered that children should not be vaccinated. Other juries in the US have ordered that water should not be fluoridated (to prevent goiter) in their cities claiming that fluorine is poison. Such juries are mis-informed.
      So, these courts that claim that glyphosate is a poison are equally ill informed.
      I retired from my medical practice and took more time to planting.
      I have used glyphosate in my tea estate for the last 15 years, and not even an earthworm had died of it.

      • 0
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        Planter-Doctor,

        As for Milk, I agree Milk does not cause cancer. But that is if you have access to unfiltered Milk from cows that have not been fed growth hormones or Anti-biotics. Hardly anyone in the world today has access to such Milk unless they buy Organic which is kind of short in supply. Or unless one lived in the EU.

        As for glysophate, all the lawsuits in the US are now favored towards the petitioners/claimants because Monsanto is no longer a US based company. Before (few years back) when Monsanto was still a US company, any lawsuit against Monsanto was quickly dismissed.

        Finally, it’s good to hear that not even an earth worm dies in your Tea estate because of Glysophate. But the use of Organic food or organic farming as I always say is like an insurance. Just because you have your house insured does not mean you hope your house catches fire and burns down. But if your house catches fire you just wish you had insurance. Same way, if one gets cancer he or she would probably wished he/she had used Organic.

      • 0
        0

        PLANTER-DOCTOR: I think you have confused yourself just by reading only a part of what I wrote. Milk Cause Asthma and I do not know about problems by milk from animal-hormones influenced cows. Food causes cancer but Indians who eat fermented milk instead of coconut milk have no such problems as heart disease, cholesterol etc., Beef and red meat cause cancers because of hemoglobin I suppose.
        Glyphosate is an amino acid. check the structure. What Srilankan scientists say, Glyphosate changes the soil pH and that causes heavy metals in the soil to be dissolved and that water is harmful to humans.
        Cell phone 5G technology is not required Srilanka. another disadvantage is 6G, 7G, and 8G are already invented and tested. So,they will come too. 5G is one milimeter waves and said to be carcinogenic. Cancer risk of 3G and the 5G cannot be the same.
        What do you think about Glyphosate killing Micro plants or algae, small plantlets in riverlets etc., Were you noticing everything.

        • 0
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          Sorry JD. Here are the facts as we know it.
          When milk is fermented it becomes yogurt, curd or cheese. Almost every food causes some asthma-like reaction for SOME people. Food which gives asthma and allergies is known among villagers as “Heaty Food” like eggs, shell fish and “heaty fish”, wheat flour, chocolates, beer, and many vegetables – even spinach. But asthma is also caused by the dust, pollen and diesel/industrial fumes. So you can’t ban everything for that.
          Glyphosate kills algae and weeds (anything green) without harming animals, fish and insects, and that is its purpose. It does NOT change the soil pH or cause heavy metals to dissolve. It does the opposite. (It removes metal toxins from the soil by making an insoluble substance and makes the soil safe). Don’t believe the fake news coming on the internet without checking against scientific research. Dont go by the sayings of some strange scientists in Sri Lanka who are aligned with the “traditional agriculture” movement. They are extremists who have a political agenda to push ahead.
          Sri Lanka has used glyphosate since about the year 2000 in all tea, corn and vegetable plantations perfectly safely. The amounts used on rice is very much much less. I recommend it as the safest available herbicide. Other alternatives are MUCH worse.

  • 0
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    Thanks for that lucid description of our Sri Lankan reality which, typically, has brought out the usual pseudo-scientific “pandithayas.”
    Much of what you describe has been in the public realm for eons but our “experts” have simply chosen to follow theories, irrespective of whether or not they made any practical sense or could be proven.
    Please do not let the peripheral noise drown out your voice of sanity!

  • 0
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    To: Rt.Lt Perera.
    As Rt. Lt. Perera says, organic food is indeed an “insurance” if you can afford it.
    You have to pay five times the normal food for it. Also, if every one were to eat organic food, we can’t produce enough of it. That was why the ” green revolution” was ushered in. One hectare of land can produce one tonne or 1.5 tonnes of organic rice using their traditional methods, when normal agriculture gives 5-8 tonnes per hectare. The chemical residues found in food are so miniscule that it isutterly harmless compared to other problems we have. Yet it has been blown totally out of proportion.
    The problem is not chemicals in food, but people not eating a well balanced meal and having exercise.
    That is why I woudln’t bother about that type of insurance. Even organic food has roughly the same amount of toxins as found in nature or in conventional food. A better form of insurance is to take more exercise and fresh air (away from traffic) regularly.
    Organic cattle raising ( and organic beef) needs lot more water than normal and this article shows that even normal beef farming is extremely bad for the environment. So, stopping alcohol and stopping smoking, NOT eating sugar or deserts, reducing your meat intake, and increasing your vegetable intake are the steps to a good balanced diet.

    • 0
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      I agree with the Planter-Doctor. It is better to stay with glyphosate, the known devil, instead of banning it and going to something new and untested.
      Glyphosate has been tested for 25 years continually on 90,000 farmers who use Roundup daily, and their health records fully followed by a team of scientists and doctors of the US Dept. of health (with no funding from industry) and they found that the incidence of cancer and other non-communicable diseases was statistically the same as the larger public who are NOT farmers.
      (See Washington Post newspaper report: https://www.facebook.com/ccabraal/posts/10213358942198153)
      As for antibiotics in beef, if you cook it well or babacue it, the antibiotics get broken down and drip off with the fat. Similarly, if you drink low-fat milk, all the antibiotics residues get removed together with the fat as antibiotic residues are soluble in fat and nearly insoluble in water. So, avoid full-fat milk. Tho-percent milk is already good.

  • 0
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    The dairy industry is the beef industry since all dairy cows are killed for meat after approximately 5 years of age when their milk production declines (male calves are sold for meat anyways). We’re talking about 2 sides of the same coin.

    Now that we got that out of the way, as adult humans we should not be sucking milk- and certainly not from animals. It is very unhealthy- full of cholesterol, saturated fat, antibiotics, hormones and other contaminants. Most dairy cows are kept in filthy sheds and contract disease which is why every glass of milk contains pus though the amount is regulated.

    And as the author has stated, it’s catastrophic to the country and our resources. The environmental disaster that dairy is is common knowledge (even the UN has urged the world to go meat and dairy free – Google it)

    It’s high time this country made use of its abundant plant produce to make plant milk and plant milk products. Other countries are making coconut ice-cream, rice milk, soy yogurt and more while we are here lagging behind with outdated practices, destroying our country, ourselves and animals. Sri Lanka has always been a country with a rich plant food heritage (most traditional foods are meat and dairy free by default, with coconut milk being used for cooking). It’s time to reclaim that and start building the plant alternative industry.

  • 0
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    We need more rational, patriotic and scholarly commentators stating their views without the fear of “political correctness” I don’t think he is against importing Milch Cows or for meat. His argument is that from a purely economic point for a small country like Sri Lanka it makes better sense to import milk and meat. His calculations on the cost of water and other inputs against imports makes out a convincing argument and warrants careful study. We have the political types in the country going round saying – Donald Trump like – we must grow, produce and manufacture everything the country needs. They are the disease. They are our problem.

    ADJP

  • 0
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    It took homo (sapiens or otherwise) 400,000 years to get to the top of the food chain – no point in getting back to the bottom again.

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      Meat eating microbes, earwigs and cockroaches are at the bottom of the food chain. Elephants are at the top of the food chain

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