Written by Amani Nilar
17 Oct, 2021 | 10:32 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Farmers allege that the Government is speaking about reaping a successful harvest while knowing that farmers are facing difficulties due to the fertilizer shortage and eventual famine.
These were among several allegations levelled against the Government at a number of protests staged by farmers across the country today (17).
The Chairman of the Kanthale Farmers Collective, Indika Paranavithana said that the President is taking one step forward and two steps back.
Paranavithana challenged the President to speak to the farmers of the country and to understand the grassroot situation in the country instead of going overseas and speaking in front of General Assemblies.
” If you are trying to give the chairman of the Provincial Councils millions of rupees and prepare them for the next elections, try it and see what happens. We as farmers have many other issues that needs to be addressed.” he said.
However, the Government has assured the farmers that they will be paid compensation for any losses that they suffer after using organic fertilizer.
Yet, farmers have demanded to know the methods and ways of compensation provided to the people as there have been many farmers in the history who have been fooled by the Government’s fallacies.
The issues faced by Farmers were highlighted at a protest organized by members of 42 farmers organizations in Kantale as well.
Shops at the Nuwaraeliya economic zone, and other shops in the Nuwaraeliya town were closed down while a protest was staged in areas including Meepilimana, Kandeela, Kuda oya, Kandha pola, and Nuwaraeliya today (17).
Farmers spoke up against the Government’s decisions at the protest, stating that certain seeds are not available for farming, and fertilizer packets have risen in price to 3,700.
Other farmers warned that if their needs are not addressed within a month, hundreds and thousands of farmers will protest at the Parliament roundabout.
” Please understand the pulse of the people. Why can’t you see this? Is this how the people who call themselves rulers and leaders treat these innocent people?” Thero who participated in the protest said.
Meanwhile, the All Ceylon Farmers Federation and the Mahiyanganaya Soroborawewa farmers movement staged a protest today demanding agriculture officials to prevent the agriculture sector of the country from descending into chaos.
” If these fields become barren, these farmers will sell off their lands. Large companies and rich smugglers and preparing to purchase them. That is the government’s plan,” farmers said.
Other farmers went onto say that they do not need water, however will not visit their fields until they obtain the required fertilizer.
A protest organized by the Samagi Govi Jana Balawegaya organization was also held in Uhana today (17).
” The rule of Gotabaya Rajapaksa is like the rule of the King of Kekille. People who said that they will bring down organic fertilizer have now brought down Pottasium Chloride. This is a fertilizer called MOP that was brought down in the past. These people are deceiving the public. Although they claim to be distributing organic fertilizer, they are distributing chemical fertilizer,” a farmer said.
Furthermore, a group of members of the Ibbagamuwa Pradeshiya Saba, including the Opposition Leader of the Pradeshiya Saba staged a protest in Ibbagamuwa demanding for fertilizer.
Farmers attached to the Godagama Farmers organization also attended the protest.
The farmers’ movement in the Jayanthipura area in Polonnaruwa also inquired the rationale for the Government to compensate if they are giving organic fertilizer, and how the relevant compensation will be calculated.
Indrananda Silva, Member of the Steering Committee of the Agrarian Struggle Movement said that the farmers are not ready to fall prey to the Government’s false spells and says that the Agricultural and Agrarian Insurance Board must publicize a circular declaring the compensation.
” Farmers have cultivated 2.5 million acres. If they are going to pay Rs. 25,000 per acre, I don’t think the Government can handle that much money. Does the President know how many acres are being cultivated in Sri Lanka? Does the Minister of Agriculture know that? We are not ready to adhere to these theatrics,” he said.
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