The Medical and Civil Rights Professional Association of Doctors (MCPA) urged Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to take immediate steps to publicise and implement ‘Early Response Agriculture Policy’ to alleviate the country’s food shortage.
MCPA President, Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa said while there was much talk about an impending food shortage, no one was talking about a concrete plan to overcome it. He said the Premier and the Government should outline a road map – an early response policy to deal with the situation.
Dr. Sanjeewa lamented that the country was facing a gross decrease in food yield due to the implementation of pilot projects using 100 per cent organic fertiliser without a proper scientific backing. He said increasing world population showed the need for farming communities to abandon traditional agricultural methods and opt for ones which would enable them to increase yield. The agriculture revolution facilitated the introduction of the scientific method of using chemical fertiliser to accomplish this, he said.
Dr. Sanjeewa said it has been found that harvest could be increased by using chemical fertiliser to the extent that it was not harmful. Subsequently, the use of weedicides and pesticides were also introduced. While it is important to ensure that chemical levels in fertiliser was not harmful, it was essential to check the chemical composition of fertiliser. Therefore, chemical fertiliser that is imported adhering to these standards was used even in developed countries for agricultural purposes. Dr. Sanjeewa said these countries too did not practise 100 per cent organic methods to enhance agriculture crops.
The MCPA President lamented that Sri Lanka was now experiencing the repercussions of not having heeding the advice of specialists with international experience when attempting to implement the use of 100% organic fertiliser in cultivation to appease the ideologies of certain local politicians and some professionals who promoted its use.
“The public have still not been duly warned of the impending doom of a food shortage in the country while no steps have been taken to formulate a national policy to avert the situation,” he warned. However, steps have been taken to set up a national framework to prevent malnutrition in the country.
“Therefore, urgent measures should be adopted to prevent social, economical and political conflicts which could erupt as a result of the food shortage by formulating a national policy to address the issue, Dr. Sanjeewa warned.
BY Dilanthi Jayamanne