Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Going back to our roots

'Necessity is the mother of invention'

Sri Lanka an Agricultural country from time immemorial shed its ‘Green’ luster with the disturbances the country underwent with foreign invasions later leading into domination under the British Empire in the nineteenth century.
An island kingdom, the kings of yore encouraged and patronized agriculture to the extent that a king’s greatness was measured by the economic stability of the era. This was proved by the reigns of Devenampiyatissa and Dutugemunu in the Anuradhapura period and King Parakramabahu 1 in the Polonnaruwa period. The Kings set the example for the economic revival and greatness.

Laws of nature seldom change. The need and necessity has arisen again for an urgent upliftment of the agrarian sector. In this sense 7th January 2008 marks a landmark in emphasizing the urgency of the need to get back to an Agrarian economy by setting an example from the houses of politicians to lead the way. It is ridiculous that a Green country like Sri Lanka should look up to foreign nations to supply the daily needs of food, milk, and grain, Sri Lanka once known as the ‘Granary of the East’ now seeks to go with a begging bowl for its grain. Year in and year out Sri Lanka’s vote on imports keep rising in dollars and euros. Time has come to turn pages into our past and review the glory that we enjoyed as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. These should not be confined to words or rhetoric alone, but put into concrete action.

While the state and the statesmen give the leadership, it is the responsibility of every citizen small or great to serve the mother land in this hour of need. Every door must be open to the call of the hour when the country is in peril. Love of the motherland should prevail upon every one and contribute their mite towards uplifting the nation from what it has fallen to.

Prices of goods keep soaring. Land is being under utilized. Foreign exchange keeps draining as brains do. Immediate solutions to these problems lie in our own hands. Today with the revival of the concept of ‘Grow More Food’ the possibility of ending the dependence on ships to deliver our goods would soon cease, if all rally round this concept. It would not only mean a dollar saver but also a way of getting back to our indigenous healthy food that our forefathers were used to.

It is no secret that white rice, refined wheat flour, refined sugar, fibreless vegetables, milk powder do not mean a wealth of health for us. Being a country blessed with plenty of sun shine, seasonal rains, fertile river banks and soil, enough and more manual labour and an instinct for tilling the soil, Sri Lanka can emerge as a number one agrarian country.

Vegetables, grain and fruits could be grown in plenty. Every little home garden, balcony or terrace could be adorned by a worth while plant instead of useless, imported weeds or plants not bearing any flower or fruit. The contribution of housewives in this national endeavor is enormous.

By Neetha Sirimanne
Courtesy of Government News, Sri Lanka