Sad That Sri Lanka In News For Wrong Reasons These Days

It is not clear why Sri Lankan government has not opted to import synthetic urea instead of nano urea at this time of crisis  in agricultural  field.

by N.S.Venkataraman

The historical and traditional glory of Sri Lanka   have justifiably made millions of Sri Lankans living in Sri Lanka and  in other countries as well as  the expatriates justifiably proud.  The fact that Sri Lanka has large followers of Buddhism, which advocates peace and non violence,  is another feather in it’s cap.

India- Sri Lanka relationship :

India and Sri Lanka have   traditionally  strong relationship due to historical reasons and   large section of Indians have always wished that Sri Lanka should prosper and advance from strength to strength.

 The fact that India tops Sri Lanka’s tourism list  is not surprising , since many Indians want to visit Sri Lanka atleast once in the life time to see the historical monuments and enjoy the Sri Lankan hospitality and natural beauty.

In such circumstances, most  Indians too just like Sri Lankans  feel  sad that Sri Lanka is in news for wrong reasons these days.

Food emergency :

The recent declaration of” food emergency “ by Sri Lankan government shocked Sri Lankans   and Indians alike and   expatriates  around the world, making them wonder as to whether any fundamentally disturbing development has taken place in Sri Lanka in recent times. Declaration of food emergency in any country would inevitably reflect poorly on  the economic and social welfare status of the  country.

It is said that food production in Sri Lanka has  steeply gone down  in recent times ,  as the Sri Lankan government took a decision to resort to  organic farming in agricultural field in a massive way,  which mean use of organic fertilisers and organic pesticides,  replacing synthetic fertilisers and synthetic pesticides. This decision to go for large scale  organic cultivation  in Sri Lanka,  without adequate and long term trials , was a calculated risk and certainly reflects poorly on  the  decision making capability of the present  Sri Lankan government. 

The concept of organic farming is still in the evolving stage all over the world  and it is well known that the use of organic fertiliser   instead of synthetic fertilizer like urea, di ammonium phosphate etc. result in low crop yield in agricultural operations.  While organically produced agricultural products could be more ecologically friendly , the cost of organic cultivation is higher and consequently making  organic products  more expensive. Further, the organic fertilisers are known to have short shelf life and require proper handling , storage , packing and transportation techniques.  It is not clear whether the farmers in Sri Lanka were trained to handle and use organic fertiliser.  Obviously, Sri Lankan administrators have not taken these  much needed precautionary  factors into consideration.

Import of organic fertiliser  from China :

Sri Lankan government  has imported large quantity of organic fertiliser from China,  which were  proved to be ineffective while applying to agricultural field.  Sri Lankan government  was forced to pay huge price to China for such ineffective organic fertilizer procured from China , though Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves were very low.

Import of nano urea :

As the crop production has gone down   due to use of organic fertilizer , Sri Lankan government has made a knee jerk reaction and has gone for import of nano urea in a big way  from India.

Nano urea is a recently introduced  product as fertiliser  and even in India, where nano urea has been developed , is not used in large scale at present and can be considered as being in introductory stage in India.

While there is no reason why nano urea would not be efficient, still, it may require some application development efforts in evolving proper techniques for use.

It is not clear why Sri Lankan government has not opted to import synthetic urea instead of nano urea at this time of crisis  in agricultural  field.

Has an enquiry been conducted ?:

It is not known whether Sri Lankan government has ordered an indepth  enquiry into the whole episode  and fixed the responsibility for such ill fated decision.

Inherent strength of Sri Lanka :

Over the years, Sri Lanka has slowly   and steadily dipped into serious economic issues and now the foreign exchange reserves have reached precarious level.  Sri Lanka now needs huge loan and financial assistance from abroad to carry on .

There is no reason  as to why Sri Lankan economy should suffer to such an extent, considering the fact that Sri Lanka is a large exporter of tea, rubber etc. and is an important destination for global tourists bringing millions of dollars for Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa’s governance :

While Sri Lanka somehow has got rid of the violent separatist movement by bravely fighting against the terrorist groups , it has not benefited by such victory so far.

Today, Sri Lanka has become a debt ridden country  with policy planners and administrators  in a blind  and not knowing the way out.

Mahinda Rajapaksa  who covered himself with glory by defeating the separatist movement and protecting the sovereignty of Sri Lanka is now responsible for leading Sri Lanka to such an economic distress conditions.

Today, Sri Lanka is under the governance of Rajapaksa family with one brother being the President, another brother being the Prime Minister and several members of the family holding crucial positions  in the government and they have a lot to explain.

What way out for Sri Lanka ?

How can Sri Lankan government retrieve itself from such desperate conditions ?

One of the main reasons for Sri Lanka getting into debt trap is  that the past governments in  Sri Lanka have unwittingly placed Sri Lanka  at the mercy of China , which has definite ambitions to expand it’s influence around the world by fair or foul means and dominate the world fully and entirely. Sri Lankan government has fallen into the trap by being tempted by China to avail huge loan  at attractive terms and   availing the project cooperation from China which would only meet the long term ambitions of global domination of China. Hambantota port is the ready example.

It is now absolutely essential that Sri Lanka has to extricate itself from the vice like grip of China to get out of the present mess.

All said and done, Sri Lanka is a democratic country with free press and it has to align itself with similar democratic countries , where there would be common interest  and shared value system.

Sri Lanka and China are unlike friends and Sri Lanka shares no values with the present  Chinese government.  It is well known that Chinese government is totalitarian in outlook and China is under the leadership of coterie of so called communist leaders , who do not respect freedom of speech and personal liberty of citizens.

Sri Lanka should not go in the way that Pakistan government has gone by almost reducing Pakistan to the status of extended territory of China.

Sri Lanka has the potentials to become a rich country like Singapore. For this to happen,  Sri Lanka  has to choose the friends   and allies with care, caution and pragmatism.  

Today, Sri Lanka has no alternative other than cooperating with  democratic countries like   USA  and West European countries and India , who have no  vested interests to  dominate Sri Lanka.  Certainly,  they would have economic interests  but it could be to mutual benefit.

Of course, the western countries and USA  and Canada have been highly critical of Sri Lanka for what they call as “human rights violation” by Sri Lanka while fighting the LTTE. In this regard, western countries criticizing Sri Lanka is like pot calling the kettle black.  However, this irksome issue can be quickly sorted out across the table with mutual goodwill being the approach.

Moving away from China and moving towards democratic countries in fostering relationships will do lot of good for Sri Lanka by facilitating technology cooperation and investments. Building up of elegant relationships with western countries that have no conflict of interest is the best strategy for Sri Lanka

The question is whether the present leadership of Sri Lankan government has the strength of character and courage to reverse the present counter productive relationship with China.

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