By Rusiripala Tennakoon –
We are plagued by issues related to the Fertilizer requirements of our farmers demanding the restoration of ‘status quo ante’ enabling them to revert to chemical fertilizers and weedicides as before for their cultivation practices. The matter has assumed proportions of a massive campaign developing across many parts of the country actively promoted and incited by external forces. The controversy on the responsibility remains confined to one section of the Government machinery while there is a growing trend of retraction by many others, becoming visible.
Whatever the critics say, switching over to the use of organic fertilizer is of great National Importance. It brings in several positive impacts which will be helpful both in the short run as well as in the long term. The saving of much needed foreign exchange utilized to import chemical fertilizers (which remain under the control of a Global Mafia) is the immediate beneficial effect. Prevention of Health and environmental hazards which invariably follow the extensive use of Chemical fertilizer comes next. Ability to attract and promote an export market for organically cultivated products is another avenue opening up as a result is yet another. Above all, placement of the country on a par with those countries in the world following a concept of adopting systems to protect the global environment is the other benefit.
Regarding the last one of the above concerns, it is worth the while to examine what is happening else- where in the world. According to recent surveys on the recent changes that shape our international society it is revealed that; “The trend survey shows that the rising environmental concern is accompanied by four related global trends: a rise in eco-consciousness, a focus on vitality, taking precautions when risks arise and an increased interest in politics. Because values and consumer needs are shifting, there will be an immense marketplace for environmentally friendly alternatives in the decade to come. This is a major opportunity for countries, businesses and leaders to tap into.”
But the achievement of these objectives appears to be in the distant horizon while the immediate adverse impacts are becoming more obvious. The decision for a sudden switchover to the use of organic fertilizer without adequate space for alternates and adjustments has caused alarm and provocation. An innocent protest that started by our farmers has been fueled to ignite into an inferno. Who is to be blamed? This is the aspect I wish to deal with in this write up.
The culture and the background of our farmers remains too deep rooted and embedded in the traditional practices they were used to over a long period of time. They obviously need time to adopt the changes. Non availability of alternate applications at hand readily is another cause for annoyance. If they were made to adjust to the switch-over transition gradually, the results would have been different from what it has culminated into today. Even a genius policy decision needs direction and adjustment to secure the most perfect and reliable results. There seems to be a gap in this requirement at the planning and implementation level which led to this unwanted mayhem and chaos.
The policy maker gets the blame although there is nothing wrong in the broad and laudable principal underlying it. According to a news broadcast the President appointed a Task Force for its implementation. Did this body address the most obvious issues that cropped up in a palatable manner? Or did they try to merely play ball towing a line of ‘faithful idiots’ come what? Looks like many chose hard talk against protest actions instead of apprising the realities. Like the monkey trying to protect the sleeping master using a sharp knife to chase away the flies disturbing his sleep!
I recently casually asked about the opinion of a Bank Head (from a bank dedicated to rural development) what he feels about a social media alert I introduced, viz. ‘it is a good thing to direct the local bodies in small clusters/groups to initiate starting small scale mechanized waste management units capable of producing organic manure as a bi-product’.
By raising this I expected this head of a SOE to grasp the value of the concept behind this short message. Looking at what is happening else where we are aware that in todays context their waste management takes place localized under modern technology thereby addressing many important social issues such as;
* Successful managing and control of public waste handling
* Creation of environmental friendly waste- management and disposal units
* Paving the way to the generation of several nationally important items as bi-products
(i) Bio-Gas, electricity (energy to the main grid)
(ii) plastics, metal, glass and other recoverable items from waste
(iii) organic manure
(iv) creation of several employment opportunities
(v) a cleaner and healthier environment resulting from efficient waste removal
None so blind as those who do not see. Alas, the reply of this Head of SOE was shocking! He referred to a SME product offered by them to promote the SME sector. For his small mind he was correct. Only thing he was not ready to assist and positively contribute to the Policy Maker who was struggling to introduce new concepts in keeping with global trends.
Today the reality is all our local bodies which carry the responsibility of public waste handling in their respective areas are facing a big problem in dumping, collecting and making any use of the waste collected.
The Presidential Task Force on Organic Fertilizer is saddled with finding immediate supply sources of Organic fertilizer as we do not have such in sufficient quantities here.
Farmers are revolting and burning effigies of Ministers, chasing Politicos who come for other functions to their villages, engaging in protest actions often abused and misused by other disgruntled elements for their ulterior motives.
A country which aimed to stop the drain of exchange on account of Fertilizer imports is now saddled with more expenditure to immediately supplement organic fertilizer from overseas amidst several controversies and facing allegations of corruption and fraud.
Some Trade Unions too trying to ostensibly join hands with the farmers to boost their depleting strengths in order to achieve further wage gains, ( trying to light the cigar from the fire when the house is burning)
My message was to help create an innovative thinking process under a suitably planned National Program to make them take the initiative to create high tech. oriented manufacturing plants locally in different parts of the country. This needs Nation Wide mobilization involving ministries such as Local government, Finance and Agriculture and agencies such as the Presidential Task Force on organic Fertilizer.
I therefor, baffled by the response of this SOE head, with no prejudice to anyone posted another social media message worded as follows;
Viz. “some heads of SOEs should be made to think at national level and not merely to be guided by officials below making small proposals. Any way it is the Dogs that have to wag the tails!”
If there is anyone with foresight, far thinking and the necessary imagination to build the nation, backed by exposure to what is happening in other parts of the civilized world, let them consider the feasibility of this innovative move considering it as ‘food for thought’.