Plus - Letter to the editor

Blessed with natural resources and yet we import foods

We Sri Lankans are spoilt. We have an abundance of natural resources and yet we do not take advantage of all this natural wealth.

Sri Lanka is blessed with natural resources. We are surrounded by seas stocked with fish, and of many varieties. How fortunate we are compared with those landlocked countries with no sea to turn to and nature turned against them. We also have an abundance of rivers and freshwater lakes.

‘We are surrounded by seas stocked with fish’

The sad thing is that we allow other countries to exploit our natural resources. They come and poach in our seas for months on end, taking away tons and tons of fish that should be left to us.

What have we done to tap the natural bounty given to us? Our freshwater lakes and rivers have not been fully tapped for their irrigation, power and fisheries potential.

Our soil is so rich that anything sown germinates. Look at the lush greenery all over the country. With so much fertile soil and water resources, our country should be self-sufficient in rice, vegetables, onions, garlic, sugar, and so on. Also, with so much fodder available, we should be self-sufficient in milk. What have we done to explore our natural resources?

We have a great variety of fruits. Although seasonal, they are special to our country. We have bananas (16 varieties), mangoes, papaya, guavas, durian, passion fruit, jak, jambu, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, grapes, apples, mangosteens, avocados, rambuttan. We are blessed with all this fruitful bounty, but what have we done to make commercial capital of it? We could be supplying the world with fruit. What have we done to explore these natural gifts?

Have we fully explored the country’s tourist potential? We have so much in the way of scenic locations – in the hills, by the rivers, in the forest. We have a rich wildlife, including indigenous birds and migratory birds. What have done to explore these natural resources?

We have rain all 365 days –a gift from the rain gods. Have we utilised these natural gifts to the fullest? What have we done?

Come now, politicians, scientists, academics, the business community, the privileged in our society. You must all rise to the occasion and explore the potential of our natural resources and make our country self-sufficient.

We should not be importing tinned fish, rice, dhall, sugar, fruits, dried fish, Maldive fish, onions, and so on.

Kingsley Durairaj, Etulkotte

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