I had a hearty laugh at these boffins talking about agriculture, who know NOTHING about it and persist in pontificating about it, see link:
They are pandering to a bunch of exporters who are looking to the Govt. to help them along the way, without looking at WHY WHY WHY there is NOT enough production of quality to meet the demands of the marketplace, and are talking JACK SHIT about lack of refrigerated transportation etc. These exporters are looking to the Govt. to help in providing refrigerated storage to keep items longer, but don't look at the reason why farmers are NOT producing more, when prices are so favorable, and demand is inexhaustible a dream for an efficient producer!
Yes they are all issues, but let us first conquer the basics, before we move up the ladder of sophistication. It is about the non-use of agricultural lands for any sort of agriculture. If you ask the owners of the land, they say it is due to it being uneconomic, as the owners themselves are able to supplement their income in far more lucrative ways.
FACT: “THOSE WITH ARABLE LAND DON’T FIND IT ECONOMICAL TO USE IT”
Then you come to the next segment of people, namely those who qualify from University with Agricultural Degrees. They simply don’t have the land, and an Agricultural Lending Institution, that is willing to lend to them to for Agricultural purposes.
So FACT: “THOSE WITH KNOWLEDGE AND DESIRE TO FARM DO NOT HAVE THE LAND” and especially in Sri Lanka’s context today, as land is relatively expensive, and is constantly rising in value, is used as a hugely wasteful tool of investment, especially amongst the private personal sector, where people invest in land as a hedge against inflation, and returns on saving are absurdly low, due to the Banks insisting on high spreads.
So how do we solve this simple problem? Simple. IMMEDIATELY pass legislation that assures the owners of land that they will NEVER lose their titles, and permit them to rent their land, or FORCE if necessary, to rent for minimum of three years, land at nominal rates of say Rs 25,000 per acre per annum in the Colombo District, and less elsewhere for those who wish to farm them.
In my 25 minute drive to work from Godagama to Biyagama, today, I must have passed 1,000 acres of paddy land that is never farmed, that under this proposal could be taken up by large scale farming using the latest techniques by skilled and knowledgeable farmers, they can employ these graduates to do the work!
Upon inspection of the land referred to as “PURAN KUMBURU”, they currently get waterlogged due to excessive rains. This is primarily because the land on high ground has been converted from coconut and rubber estates to housing developments due to the increasing land prices and demand for housing land. Therefore there is run-off to the paddy fields. This can easily be managed by a intelligent system of canals that catch this water, and feed it to small lakes and finally onto the rivers that carry this run-off to the sea.
This way, only the required water can be directed into the fields, and unless there is a project to farm all the land in a field, as there many be 100 owners of the land on one low lying field of 150 acres, then it would make economical sense to give this to a farmer who will use ALL the new techniques of agriculture, the big tractors and harvesters, to work the land for THREE CROPS, where NOT ONE CROP currently is grown. JUST THINK ABOUT IT!
GOD has blessed this Country, with the possibility of growing three crops of paddy for a year, and we have NOT even attempted to grow one, as it is NOT economical for the owner alone to do it. It is the job of the Govt. to satisfy ALL the stakeholders, while immediately permitting largescale agriculture, in the heart of the Colombo District, that can even grow crops for export direct from the field to the airport, due to proximity to catch the fresh food market in the Middle East by air if necessary.
If you look at the complaints of the exporters with no produce for export due to the Tourism industry grabbing a share of the pie, all these problems of demand, with NO SUPPLY can easily be solved.
I was asking my driver the rhetorical question this morning, as to why our Politicians cannot think enough to pass legislation to enable this simple process to take its course over time and LISTEN TO HIS SIMPLE EXPLANATION
“The Politicians DO NOT think of the Country as a whole, and how any legislation can benefit this Country. They have NO stake in that benefit. They only have a stake to benefit a few of their supporters or paymasters in bribes and such like, so they can make some money, by sharing in a construction contract or similar. It has never occurred to them that we can produce more food, and help Sri Lanka export surplus! They don’t see what you see when you look out of the window. They don’t see dollar signs when they see empty paddy land, unless of course they find a way to permit them to fill this low lying land, so they can make get a cut from the enhanced land value on filling a completely environmentally disastrous option, a favorite of politicians intent on merely making money, no matter how!”
"They cannot see fruit, vegetables, paddy or even grass for cattle in their sights!”