The Academic Movement to Save Agriculture has its say on the crisis and the way forward

In a statement, the Movement of Academics for the Safeguarding of Agriculture (AMSA) in Sri Lanka expressed grave concern over the potential impact of the current national crisis on the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka.

Its full statement is as follows.

First, we vehemently condemn the brutal assault on peaceful protesters outside Galle Face and Temple Trees, and the damaging chain reactions that have resulted.

We are at a crucial stage of the 2022 Yala season where crop establishment is severely limited by shortages of fuel, fertilizer and other essential inputs. The current crisis has paralyzed almost all activities in the value chain of production, processing, transport and marketing of agricultural products. These include food for the local population and products for export that bring in valuable foreign currency.

The future implications of the current state of inactivity are alarming. The failure of the current Yala season will not only create major and widespread shortages of essential foodstuffs (rice, pulses, vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, etc.), but will also lead to a shortage of seed paddy for the next Maha season of 2022. /2023. Considering that the Maha season produces two-thirds of national paddy production, the potential impacts of its failure on national food security and social stability are vast and severe. The current state of foreign exchange reserves means that the country will not have the capacity to offset the impending shortfall in domestic food production through food imports. As such, AMSA urges the President and the Legislative Assembly to urgently take the necessary steps to resolve the current impasse in administration and governance at the national level to allow for the resumption of activities on the entire value chain of the Sri Lankan agricultural sector, both for local consumption and for export. .

We urge the new administration that will hopefully take office to give high priority to ensuring a reasonably adequate supply of essential agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer and fuel, and to restoring farmers’ confidence to s engage in agricultural production. We urge officials of mandated government institutions and agencies to facilitate equitable distribution of limited agricultural inputs and provide advice to farmers, through the agricultural extension network, on technologies to achieve the maximum productivity possible with the limited amount of inputs. inputs available.

We urge the general public to fully support all export-oriented agricultural, food and crop production activities, increase export earnings, reduce food waste and practice home gardening whenever possible. We also ask everyone to refrain from any activity causing the destruction of infrastructure, public and private, particularly used in agricultural production.

AMSA, as a group of academics in the field of agriculture, stands ready to fully support all the above activities by contributing our expertise in different disciplines of agriculture based on proven and valid scientific principles .

The signatories of the AMSA-Sri Lanka statement are Buddhi Marambe, Senior Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya; University of Peradeniya Faculty of Agriculture Senior Professor Janendra de Costa; Professor Devika de Costa from the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya; Ruhuna University Faculty of Agriculture Senior Professor Aruna Kumara; Professor T. Sivananthawerl of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya; Saman Dharmakirthi, professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya; Professor Nalika Ranathunge from Ruhuna University Faculty of Agriculture; Professor Warshi Dandeniya from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya; Nilantha Liyanage, Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna; Professor Ewon Kalidasa from the Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture, Uwa Wellassa University; Professor Gangani Samaraweera from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna and Dr. Pradeep Gajanayaka from the Faculty of Technology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

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