25 July, 2017

The Presidential Polls – What About Agriculture And Health?

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

The common candidate was a former minister of health, and also a former minister of agriculture. His election manifesto is remarkable in the absence of any statements regarding the crisis in agriculture, health and environmental degradation, resulting in kidney disease, dengue fever and malnutrition spreading in many parts of the country. A similar lacuna is notable in the manifestos of the ruling party, and other candidates. The election manifestos are influenced by city-based political ideologues concerned only about executive power and regime change. The campaign focuses on constitutional change and claims of good governance, but ignores the more important need to re-think in terms of long term sustainable development.

In the halcyon days of the Senanayakes, agriculture was a primary concern as D. S. Senanayake was inspired by the vision of the ancient hydaulic civilization of Anuradhapura and Pollonnnaruwa. This vision was extended and ably supported by engineering visionaries like Manaperi and M. S. M. Fernando. Even N. M. Perera shared this vision and consulted these engineers when needed. There was a vision to dam every river and conserve every drop of water”, as Parakramabahu is reported to have said. Rapid clearing of forests and re-plantation with crops to feed a fast-growing population were achieved using modern machinery. Hunger has been averted and a measure of self-sufficiency has been reached, thanks to high-yielding varieties of rice that require less water, less time to grow and respond even to very small amounts of fertilizers developed by our agricultural scientists who have remained unrecognized by a public unaware of the effort at the frontier of science.

However, this vision of extensive hydraulic schemes and agriculture based on it, enlarging on the nostalgic image of ancient times ignored dangerous ecological consequences. Inded, the fall of the rice bowl in Mannar (Yodha weva), the rise and fall of Anuradhapura and Pollonaruwa may have been connected with their own inherent deep-seated ecological contradictions.

Unlike in ancient times when an irrigation project may take many long years to complete, even the mighty Mahaweli could be re-routed and dammed in a decade. But this kind of very rapid movement of earth, bringing deep-seated geological layers full of salts and minerals onto the surface layers can have serious consequences. Rapid clearing of land leads to irreparable erosion and degradation of the quality of drinking water.

Maithripala SThe specter of “chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology” (CKDU) appeared in the Rajarata in the 1990s. Since then it has silently stalked Rajarata families causing tragedy. Meanwhile, the whole country is increasingly falling under the grip of the Dengu mosquito. In the old days, when tragedy happens, evil forces, “Vas” and “Kili” (curses and pollution) were blamed. In modern societies, such problems are rapidly dealt with by the medical and agricultural professionals. Sri Lanka, unlike many developing nations, has a record of effective action controlling malaria, smallpox, TB, mumps, typhoid, whooping cough, hookworm etc.

But then, that was before every thing became highly politicized or left to the private sector and the IMF. The Eelam wars had to end before politicians took notice of CKDU. The Dengu mosquito became important only when it became a threat to Colombo itself.

US-based “environmental” NGOs and their indigenous counterparts dictate how people deal with CKDU, Dengu or Malaria even in Sri Lanka. US bans prevent the domestic use of DDT in spite of the WHO ruling in 2006, giving DDT a clean slate. Ignoring the overall degradation in the environment, quick-fix solutions have become the favorite of politicians and self-styled environmentalists who are uninformed of even the basics of environmental chemistry. But they ride the wave of public approbation based on public fear.

In December 2014, in the middle of the presidential election campaign, the Rajapaksa government gazetted a limited ban on a key herbicide, glyphosate, restricting the ban to the Rajarata. It promised clean water to its residents at an election rally. Not to be outdone, his opponent Maithripala Sirisena, a former agriculture minister who sat impotent over these problems, has apparently declared that he will ban “all agrochemicals.”

Surely, banning all agrochemicals will have a more dire economic impact on the country than constitutional revisions discussed in election manifestos. Will they at least solve the CKDU problem? Why ban fertilizers and herbicides used safely (without CKDU) in other provinces and in other countries? How are they implicated in a health problem in the Rajarata.? A rational environmental and agricultural policy based on our current population, and our need to feed them and retain a sustainable soil and water system seem to be far from the minds of our legislators or political gurus of the Left or the Right.

The attempt to make political capital out of the Rajarata CKDU tragedy began at least five years ago. Marxist groups tried to use the farmers as their pawns in their struggles. Other groups interested in “colour revolutions” moved in; they did the same in “Rathupaswela” where the water became acidic for geological reasons. Individuals as disparate as Tamara Kunanayagam in Geneva, and Rev. Duleep de Chickera in Colombo viewed Rathpaswela as a justified uprising against industrial capitalism. Meanwhile, independent nationalist groups like the “Swarna-Hansa foundation” even talked of suing the World Health Organization (WHO) for “allowing” the use of inorganic fertilizers “knowing that it is a poison”!

A free market that had removed all rational controls (even on fertilizers and drugs), together with a fertilizer subsidy scheme had drenched the soil with an unnecessary excess of agro-chemicals, asphyxiating the the soil. A healthy soil is made up of of its microorganisms vital to its health. An over-arching belief that our food and water are “unhealthy” due to excessive use of ‘agrochemicals” became partly true. In over-reacting, some looked for a naïve ban on all agro-chemicals. Claims in newspapers that Sri Lankan rice and tea were “contaminated” with arsenic or cadmium were repeatedly made, and rebutted by scientists armed with analytical data.

A WHO study, as well as independent Peradeniya, and Japanese studies of the Rajarata water surprised many in showing that there were no significant amounts of metal toxins like arsenic or cadmium, and that pesticides like glyphosate and chlorohydrocarbons etc., were also absent. If arsenic, cadmium and glyphosate are NOT found in the Rajarata water, they cannot be the cause of CKDU.

In contrast, there is now evidence that most of the drinking wells in the Rajarata have excess amounts of salts (not just common salt, but many other salts), and this aggregated salinity (called ionicity) that is not easily detected by taste has been proposed by several scientists as the most probable cause of CKDU. The origin of this salinity may be from the wash-off of excess fertilizer during the rainy season of the hill country. This is shown in the rapid rise of phosphate levels in the Rajarata tanks during its dry zone, when it is raining in the tea growing hill country.

The free-market economics of J. R. Jayawardene was applied even to fertilizers. Farmers were exhorted to buy more and more fertilizers to get more yields. But the scientific reality is that two much of a good thing becomes bad. Instead of taking one vitamin pill a day, if you take five you get poisoned. But some farmers have been found to apply even five to ten times the needed amount of fertilizer, paying very little since the fertilizers are subsidized. The high sales volumes provide profits to the merchants.

The plants and the soil will optimally uptake only a given amount of nitrates and phosphates, and any excess will get simply washed off by the rains, to be carried away by irrigation works to the more fragile ecology of the dry zone to pollute the water table. Furthermore, the earth works of giant irrigation schemes of the last four decades have moved deep-lying layers to the surface, releasing salts and minerals that contribute to the ionicity, in addition to natural “redox” processes typical of areas like Maha-Illuppallama and Padaviya.

Fortunately, a country with torrential monsoons and floods can also benefit from flooding that washes out pollution, especially in the wet zone, and occasionally in the dry zone too. Floods are an important ecological correction mechanism in environments that have been badly managed. The election manifestos are high on constitutional change and issues of financial corruption, but ignore the more important need to re-think in terms of long term sustainable development where we prevent periodic flooding as well as land erosion.

Glyphosate is a well-known herbicide that acts on plants but non-toxic to animals and humans as seen from three decades of use in the West. It is also cardinal to the technology of genetically modified (GMO) crops commercialized by Monsanto. A California doctor linked to an NGO in “battle” with Monsanto, and his indigenous partners in Colombo argued that glyphosate was the cause of kidney disease in the Rajarata. Their strong political links enabled them to get the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to agree to ban this herbicide in September 2013.

However, even the politicians soon understood that this would destroy our plantations and hopes of food self-sufficiency. The impracticality of replacing fertilizers by compost, and herbicides by hand weeding in the internationally competitive tea and rubber industries was self-evident. Switching to traditional rice giving 1/3 the harvest, and costing five times even in normal times, would shoot the price some 15-20 times, not to mention the effect on vegetables, fruits etc. The idea, if implemented, would have dire effects. The proposed ban was shelved.

The opposition to Glyphosate is purely a side-skrimish in the anti-GMO battle. A GMO technology, if controlled by a giant agrochemical company should be absolutely opposed.

Glyphosate is not the only case where the Global NGOs have influenced our policies to our detriment. We fog our environment with poisonous insecticides hoping to eradicate Dengu but fail to do so. DDT is the safe answer to get rid of the Dengu mosquito, but this goes against US policy regarding DDT (we are NOT advocating the use of DDT for agricultural use).

Elections are when promises are made. Rajapaksa offered to give clean water to the Rajarata. This has been a regular recommendation for fighting CKDU given by scientists and medical men, but eclipsed by fear-mongering calls for banning “poisonous agro-chemicals”. Such bans will crush the already imperiled Rajarata farmers, possibly leading to the end of agriculture there. Sirisena’s proposal to TOTALLY ban agrochemicals to fight CKDU is mere hypocritical pandering to public fears to gain votes.

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  • 2
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    Dear Learnt Prof.
    Recalling your article published on CT a few months ago on the very issue that Rajarata people have been facing today – we got to know that wrong use and introduction of hazaadous life threatning chemicals should have caused the problem. Focusing on that itself, I feel – we the developing countries should have strict measures being taken when any kind of health threatening chemicals are imported. Unfortuantely, most of developing countries face the problem back and forth not having proper filter system in their adminsitration when they are imported. I know it by myself long ago, DDT was banned to use in developed world though India and other neigbhrouing countries were not instructed to do so, since they could not affort and other replaces instead. However, DDT is also named as a cancerous health threatening chemical in developed countries. I believe srilanka is a mid income earning country today and should have better systeme to screen any kind of injurious chemicals coming to the country. This can just be controlled if university professonals woudl work with lanken ministries- since negligence and totally ignorance of these areas have taken the lives of poor villagers in the country today. The very same problems are heard in pharmacedutical areas – where no responsible people are appointed to screen them. A president who has been promising a lot but being unable to provide the poor with most cheap food item-which is healthy water to this day- this is simply a shame to their regime.

    • 3
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      Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

      “The campaign focuses on constitutional change and claims of good governance, but ignores the more important need to re-think in terms of long term sustainable development.”

      You are correct. However, we have a short-term national problem and a long-term national problem. The short-term national problem can be fixed in the next 10 days, if the populace is wise, and use common sense.

      The Short-term problem is the Family Dictatorship and Uncontrolled criminal activities, that is choking everything else. It is like in the middle of the dessert with no water. You will die of dehydration before starvation.

      • 1
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        Amarasiri – I always admire and respect your comments. Please consider the following.. I am very concerened about the people that face those renal problems in Rajarata. I believe, the least the govt could provide them with is the clean drinking water. Let s give this a try so that the authorities will have to do their job without further delay.

        ———————-

        I doubt whether the writer of the current article is one another US agent working on PR mission for Monsanto (the manufacturing company of Glyphosate and other agro chemicals) when focusing the last few lines of the article. I don’t think MS would impose total ban of export of those chemicals, without considering the problems of the farmers. Anyways, it is advisable to take strict measures on the issue – since EU and several countries would not welcome US agro products for their agro farmers.
        Yes, those lanken farmers should be adequately informed about need of healthy drinking water while not taking action to destroy their livelihood. Their life styles are solely dependent on their farming activities. So govt will have to focus all these when taking any action against the export of agro chemicals to the country. One thing clearly mentioned here is GMO products can cause future threats for entire communities. Since those genetically modified organisms and their nature is artificial…. They are not comparable to naturally formed plants or organisms. However it is wise to appoint a scientific body HELP making decisions before any kind of health hazardous chemicals being exported to the country –should be introduced by new administration. I have no doubt that we have enough well educated chemists to help in this regard.
        Further to this, honestly saying, you don’t need to be a prof to get it – even any average with some knowledge in chemistry would see it – going through the publications sofar that elevated use of Glyphosate By lanken farmers should be the main cause them to end up being renal patients. When considering the rapidly growing numbers of new renal patients – that never found two decades ago in the country to have risen with the use of those chemicals are becoming evident when studying the recent literature.

    • 0
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      Whether DDT or any other material is “cancer causing” depends on the DOSE and the PERIOD OF EXPOSURE. The biggest cancer causing agents in most places are Gasoline fumes, cigarette smoke, industrial effluents, dry-cleaning and paint works, and SUNLIGHT.

      Many western countries have banned citronella oil and clove oil also as being cancer causing! But they allow DEET and other poisonous stuff. In Sri Lanka people light “mosquito coils” which are more “cancer causing” than a few drops of DDT used diluted to a few parts per million in a spray, as supposed to be stated by WHO guidelines. This was explained more carefully in an earlier article by this author.

      This professor’s article is good but it does not state what has to be said in a direct manner as he has too many messages crammed into one article. I had noted linguistic fogginess before with Prof. Rajeev Wijesinghe’s articles. Sometimes these professors don’t know who their audience is and how to put the facts across.

      The article tries to state all the following things!

      (i)Both Sirisena and MR have ignored sustainable agriculture and health.
      (ii)CKDU is NOT caused by fertilizers and herbicides, They are necessary to feed
      the people. So DONT ban them following the “Dewala Buddhists” and extremist groups.
      (iii)But agrochemicals are being used in excess (5 to 10 times more than needed) by people and THAT pollutes the water table and so their use has to be CONTROLLED.
      (iv)Large irrigation engineering also brings up poisonous minerals.
      (v)The salts from excess fertilizers and from the disturbance of the soil by irrigation projects and clearing of forests have poisoned the water table.
      (vi)Give clean water to the people to stop CKDU.
      (vii)Use DDT inside homes to prevent DENGU.

      I think that is his message in summary form. I think I can fully agree with item (vi). While the other points seem OK, whether they are substantially correct or not should be decided by the experts.

      • 1
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        Annonymous,

        Glyphosate issue is becoming an international one to date. The american manufacturing company -monsanto will have to be liable to all the health damages that the herbicide has made to the global farming community not restrict to srilanken Rajarata people. Towards the end of last year, German researcher -Dr Krüger had made it very clear in her research paper that the urine samples of the denish cows taken from varied dairy farms in that country did contain glyphosate with content variations. The fact that countries such as GERMANY are well alert on their cereals undergoing screening processes to examine the contaminations hold the effect to be kept away from consumers while devleopoing countries like Srilanka are not considering the levels of glyphosate not mixing them up with drinking water. However it is reported by few articles published on the issue – latest being that of jayasuman et al 2015- that drinking water contaminations should be the reason lanken Rajarata farmers to become renal sick. However none of these researchers have succeeded to bring any study to prove the direct relation between Glyphosate and lanken kidney disease yet. More research of the kind of Germany’s prof. Kruger and lanken Prof. Jayasumana will have to be there to rule out that glyphosate are the key for unexpected renal problems of the lanken farmers or any other faming community facing it.

        • 1
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          Please have time and watch the following video

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6_DbVdVo-k

          Yes – those who are really intersted to learn more about the manufacturing company of Glyphosate – Monsanto – most leading agro company that promote GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOs) so that their herbicides can further be used. The video provides all the basics about Monsanto.

          Glyphosate is said to be biodigradable but researchers have proved that not to be such.

          I have no doubt – the direct relation between lanken renal diseases and the glyphosate. I wonder why the lanken authorities allowed them to get in to the country since lanken crops are not GMOs as is the case in US crops. The company has spread their GMOs so that their agro chemicals can be used to control the weeds.

          I wish I could read what the Chandre Dharamwardhana says about all these.

  • 2
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    Entire export and import dpt should be restructured by appointing most educated and experienced professionals to those position so that people of the island can rely on no more health threatening chemicals willb e impoted to the country at least in future govts.
    10years ago, island nation was not caught by cancers/kidney problems as it is the case for today- this we can see in statistics easily. If authorities took measures accordingly, nothning would have gone wrong in those areas- results would not have been increase of cancer /kidney patients in thei country to the levles that re being reported by scientists and medical professionals today. They the politicians plus businessmen have played with the lives of the poor in this country not giving enough attention in health and care areas … While arguing in this areas – one good friend told me.. what I have been saying… for a adminsitraion whose law and order is fallen as no seen in any previous regime… all these could be right but if any leader would play with the lives of the masses, he should not be elected to lead this developing nation.

    • 1
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      lanken kind of kidney diseases though have no links to Diabetes Melitus are reported to be common to those of Andra pradesh in India. However- to this day, global food chains have been highly affected by the introduction of GMOs – by the US pioneers Monsanto. This has been a part of the survival of Americans. They spread this kind of harzadous organisms and chemicals not thinking twice. Coutnries like Germany and few other european countries have not given access to the use of Glyphosat- or if given with much restrictions not allowing them to mix up to the food chain of the consumers. Latter has prevented them from being caught by kidney and liver diseases though some cattle have been reported to have met with moratal damages with glyphosate. However, european researchers work hard to go against MONSANTO – even if Monsanto hire PR companies to do spead more positive views about agro chemical products and their GMOs. This has been like a cold war if anyone would check it on the YOUTUBE channel by today.

  • 0
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    Dear prof,do you find any better proposals on agriculture and health in the Chinathana – Naya and that `world shaking` manifesto?

  • 1
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    Jewish American company [Edited out] is financing MaRa’s election campaign.

    Now [Edited out] is earning $1 billion a year by selling poisonous chemicals to the agri industry in SL. If MaRa loses, [Edited out] loses this money. Peanuts for the company but big money for its South Asia division.

    So [Edited out] is dishing out millions of dollars for MaRa’s election campaign.

  • 0
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    Nalin de Silva and other Dewala Buddhists are also probably linked to the NGO mafia (just as the Bodu bala sena is) and they want the fertilizers banned outright, rather than controlling them properly.
    Extremists will always come along with extreme solutions.

  • 0
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    The Buddhist nation of Bhutan has converted to 100% organic farming, eliminating poisoning by pesticides.
    Could not Sri Lanka do the same.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-bhutan-aims-nation.html

    • 0
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      “Justice” says that the Buddhist nation has converted 100% to organic farming.
      This is just propaganda. They SAID that they HOPE to become the first country with is 100% organic.
      This is a good objective, and perhaps attainable in the next 10 years in Bhutan a country where almost 1/3 of the cultivation is still Chena cultivation (“shifting cultivation) as was the case in Sri lanka in the 1930s. The remaining cultivation is also small peasant farmsteads. There are five small quasi-industrial agricultural projects (Paro hill and Chiran-valley etc) and they ARE using fertilizers and Pesticides, that the HOPE to gradually wind down.
      That is perfectly fine. Sri Lanka also should try to increase its quota of organic farming as much as possible.

  • 0
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    Five countries have banned Glyphosate containing fertilisers marketed by Monsanto.

    http://ultraculture.org/blog/2014/04/01/5-countries-throwing-monsanto-ass/

    Why sri lanka cannot do so and save lives as well as increase production of food grains, is inexplicable.
    Some allege that Monsanto has “bought over” persons who are insistent on weedicides it supplies.

    • 0
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      Justice writes “five countries have banned Glyphosate”.

      The information given above is WRONG. Only Nicaragua has banned it because it has a lunatic fringe controlling their agriculture dept. We don’t want to emulate it.

      Some countires have restricted domastic usage (just to appease the environmental lobby), but these five countries have NOT banned its agricultural use.

      You need an efficient means of weeding your tea estates and rubber estates etc.
      You cannot do it by hand unless you import about 5-10 times the Labour (Indian labour?) and pay them a pittance as the British did? Are you ready for that?

      Why ban Glyphosate?, Give me ONE good no reason to ban it.
      You need to ban something if it is toxic. If Glyphosate is toxic, then Common Lifebuoy soap is even more toxic!!!!!!

      • 0
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        Yes, that is what I also noticed.

        Srilanka has not yet banned Monsanto.

        I think not knowing the truth to spread this kind of lies can be a crime.

        I really dont think a man who looted the nation to all core – would ever have decided to ban Monsanto… instead his brother Basil would have sought profit making avenues to his revenues.

      • 0
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        Are you an fully ignorant ?

        ALmost many in research have been proving Glyphosat being that injurious. You ask about any single reason.
        You the dimwits cant get them. Glyphosat is more or less like an another deadly virus to the developing COUNTRIES.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25079171

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25596925

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24562182

        Buffaloes of your kind are not worth using to plough the paddy fields in the country. May be you only focus on your commercial advantages.

    • 0
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      Justice-
      We have to spread all awarness programmes about Monsanto and the danger of those chemicals without proper information.
      I believe we have enough agronommists or the like in the country to do such jobs. State and uNIVERSITIEIS have to do lot more for the sake of those farming community… without knoweldge they are caught by those unexpected renal problesm.. that has now become like kenda became kanda.

      most in europe are well concerned about those chemicals – especially coming from the US. These Monsanto openly works with Obama and FDA.
      So they have all problems in US itself. THere are US farmers that face varied problems since they started glyphosate as herbicides. I wonder why the lanken authorities introduced them to the lanken farmers – not considering the danger before the nation. We dont have GMOs in srilanka .. we ddinot have them two decades ago. Eccept the netherlands many countries in Europe are well concerned the consequences of GMOs- many germans would not allow GM vegi or fruits being found in their markets while the dutch do whatever to promote their GM tomoatoes and the other products.

  • 2
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    Monsanto, manufacturer/supplier of pesticides is being sidelined by agriculturahttps://www.organicconsumers.org/campaigns/millions-against-monsantol scientists – but NOT in sri lanka.

    https://www.organicconsumers.org/campaigns/millions-against-monsanto

    • 0
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      Justice has got his/her sense of justice a little messed up!!!

      He quotes an NGO called “millions against Monsanto, but we are NOT discussing Monsanto.

      These are extremist NGO advocacy groups.

      We are discussing if Kidney Disease is caused by Glyphosate. In the North central Province (called Rajarata by the author) there is NO Glyphosate found in the water table. If there is, there will be no algae in the padaviya tank. Just go and look, and you do see even all kinds of other weeds. If even a trace of the weed-killer Glyphosate is there, all these weeds would vanish.

      • 0
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        Chandre,

        Yes we are.

        That is the root cause.

        That company finances MR’s election campaign too for obvious reasons!!

        • 0
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          We don’t use GMO foods in Sri lanka.
          India has its own home-made GMO foods that have not much to do with
          Monsanto. I don’t know about China. But I am sure China will not
          allow Monsanto there, but make their own GMO

  • 0
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    Glyphosate has been banned in Canada and the ban is upheld by a court
    of justice.

    http://pesticidetruths.com/toc/glyphosate/

    Sri Lanka must ban pesticides containing glyphosate to prevent deaths of its citizens.

    • 0
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      Hi, Justice,
      the website
      http://pesticidetruth.com/glyphosate
      actually says in Banner letters that
      Glyphosate Is SCIENTIFICALLY SAFE

      LACK OF CREDIBLE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
      from West Coast Environmental Law
      and Josette Weir
      Josette Wier’s EXAGGERATED CLAIMS
      concerning « significant new evidence »
      against GLYPHOSATE

      were QUICKLY
      DISCREDITED and ABANDONED

      by the Federal Court of Canada

      ****

      so you must have not looked at this webpage before you put it there?
      Or,are you kidding?

  • 0
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    I wish to add a few corrections and at the same time reply to some of the comments made by readers. I thank them and those who wrote to me directly, for their views.

    1) I am sorry for inadequate proof reading, and thank “anonymous” for an excellent and correct summary of my article. The names given as “manaperi and M. S. M. Ferando” should be changed to Manamperi and M. S. M. de Silva.

    2) The statement that “rapid movement of earth, bringing deep-seated geological layers full of salts and minerals onto the surface layers” in large irrigation works may not be a valid claim. I have received detailed data on the construction procedures, dams, foundations, flow rates in tunnels and canals, and hydrological data with respect to various stages of the Mahaweli engineering works, and one has to conclude that there has been due diligence in implementing ecologically acceptable methods.

    3)I want to again emphasize that up to about 1977 Sri Lanka used very little fertilizers and herbicides because their use was CONTROLLED by agricultural technicians. During that time we did NOT have any serious problems, and the yields were good, and the soil was healthy. It was free-market economic that created the deluge in Fertilizers and pesticides.

    We believe that Kidney disease is NO longer a mystery. It most probably arises from excess salinity (due to common salt and other salts) levels in the water in Rajarata wells. We now have electrical conductivity data to prove it.

    4)The present effort to ban Glyphosate is simply part of the a globalized agenda Monsanto and has nothing to do with Kidney disease. Someone has claimed that Monsanto “finances MR’s election campaign for too for obvious reasons”. Monsanto is equally likely to finance Srirsena’s campaign as well, given Ranil’s and Chandrikas business connections, and Sirisena’s visit to a US university (and meeting with US business). However, GMO is not used in Sri Lanka.

    Toxicity and health issues are purely scientific matters. Glyphosate is NOT toxic to living organisms that do not produce chlorophyl – e.g., fish, birds, animals, humans, unless they are given a large daily dose.

    The world health organization stipulates the following:
    (http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/glyphosateampa290605.pdf )
    Because of their low toxicity, the health-based value derived for AMPA alone or in combination with glyphosate is orders of magnitude higher than concentrations of glyphosate or AMPA normally found in drinking-water. Under usual conditions, therefore, the presence of glyphosate and AMPA in drinking-water does not represent a hazard to human health. For this reason, the establishment of a numerical guideline value for glyphosate and AMPA is not deemed necessary.

    • 0
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      Dr. Dharmawardena, you have touched only the fringe of the problems that exist in this country.I own some paddy lands at Matara, they form a part of a complex of about 100 acres. These fields had not been cultivated through 1980-1994 and then 2004-2010 and now since 2011. This make it 28 years.The problem with 1980-1994 was that in the construction of the Ruhuna University, the Construction Co. blocked the drainage canal, which was cleared only after Anura Kumar Dissanayake became the Minister of Agriculture.There was the loud mouthed Ronnie driving past with no action being taken even after it was brought to his notice.Today these fields are back at square one – again the drainage canals are blocked and the administrator is not interested in helping to get them cleared. As the farmers express -” it is a lesser loss to purchase the rice he needs than to plant it” – in other word the price range at which he negotiates is low.All this point to the lack of interest among the politician and the administrator.the days of D.S.Senanayake and Dudley are gone- destroyed by JRJ who destroyed everything that he touched.

      There is a second problem, which had escaped notice among the Politicians and of course the very verbose GMOA. The GMOA was one of the parties shouting aloud when accusations were raised on CDC, which accusations were proved to be fibs.

      The problem involve girls as young as 5+ years attaining puberty.When I first heard of this, I took it to be an isolated instance _ as isolated as a girl attaining puberty at the University- but it seems to be the trend today.The parents blame it on broiler chicken, sausages and Noodles.No study had been made and these reasons are purely speculative.I suspect that these incidents may be due to their food habits, but that is only a guess.Why is this problem being neglected.

      I wanted to write about this to the newspapers, but unfortunately, assigning specific instances will be embarrassing to the children and the parents.

      With your educational background and exposure, I trust you will enlighten the public on this.If it based on broiler chicken, sausages and noodles,I do not think that either of the two candidates will act.We have witnessed the power of the wheeler dealers since 1977.

  • 0
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    WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE.YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS.
    The Neocolonoist and the Multi national are at our door. Our Agriculture productivity is low. Our President has a vision for our Agriculture. We need an long awaited Presidential Task Force on Agriculture. Singapore has the highest productivity in Asia. We a small country were ahead of Sigapore.
    Wew must support the vision. To protect our envoirenment. To have food security. To storm Foriegn Markets where we Have the Edge. Organic farming. Local strains of seed and plants. The tools and tractors and agricultural equipment that yet maintans employment. Rotate crops and fallow and grow market oriented crops to improve wages. Lower fertilizer levels to give maximum crops. The Multi nationals have made our crops and soil and water toxic. Fertilizer slibilty and particle size, ways of optimising fertilizer pick up. We can do it. With Principles of the Lord Buddha and our age old traditions of Agriculture.
    The software for Agriculture are our People.Our Agricultural Extension Officers and key persernel should be paid better with incentives on Productivty for Areas. Our Resarch facilities for Gannoruva Resaerch center, CRI.RRI,TRI, must share resources. The IDB Pannala must design tools and machinary.The EDB, Department for minor crops must deliver. The private sector should have the productivity or be taken over. Groos negligence must be punioshed.
    The ADB has the best program and assistance to increase Productivity. People all over the World are uniting to preseve our envoirenment and have a sustainable Base for Agricultue.

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    We need the best Health and at a affordable price. Free health Medical Facilities must be approved. Negligence should not be tolerated. Intergrated Health has to be made available widely.
    General practioners and Nurses who’s skill is upgraded should use low cost methods to check on illness and go for clinical labortarymethods later. Weeding out disease will save lives and money.Doctors do practice examing eyes,tongue and palapitation during a full check up.Exersize and diet and life style optimised will improve Health tremendously.
    Ayurveda Nadi done properly will zero on problems early. Ayurvdveda builds Immunity. Cleansing through panchkarma prevents disease by fine tuning. Ayirvedic Plants is holistic. It is preventive. On the Long term it prevents reoccurence.
    Marmba traditionally used is purpoted to optimise intercelular , lymph amd celurlar fluids.Giniyam and seethal looks to energy flow in Body. It controls energy flow. It is accepted that every thing is made of Energy It reinforces Ayurveda. Astrology is used to zero on disease4 likelyhood for further testing.
    Diet according to Doshas helps build disease resistance. Vastu vidaya builds Houses for optimum energy flow. Vishva Sakthi Uses the universal energy for Healing.
    The oppurtunities are endless. President MS will lead the way.

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