We all have our duties, obligations, good practices and customs, whatever our religion or culture be. Many who talk about what is due to them have forgotten the benefits we receive in life. People who are trying to reach the pinnacle of development should be shown the way to protect and nourish development. If the [...]


Join us in the mission to supply quality food


We all have our duties, obligations, good practices and customs, whatever our religion or culture be. Many who talk about what is due to them have forgotten the benefits we receive in life. People who are trying to reach the pinnacle of development should be shown the way to protect and nourish development. If the way and our vision too is clear, why should we go astray?

There are enough movements today suggesting various ways of earning money by helping and aiding others. But the aim of this article is to show that we should help ourselves and self help is the best way. However busy we are, we also have to enjoy life and enjoy our meals. Instead of taking alcoholic beverages and drugs, this is an attempt to show the correct mental attitude with regard to meeting one’s daily needs.

How many of us add a little pepper powder, lime juice, orange juice, a spoonful of honey or a piece of ginger to our breakfast? Who are so blessed, who can chew a little Suuduru, Maaduru or a piece of cinnamon after a meal? Today the milk powder or instant coffee has taken the place of a good glass of hot water or the rice in the morning. Our own cup of tea has lost its value now. Rice is the best staple food for us. In Thailand many food items are prepared out of rice. Thailand is the ideal example for good food. We have lost several varieties of our rice such as Suvendel, Pachchaperunal, Swangjaata, Kaluheenati and Rathuheenati.

The Gangaramaya has on its own started to grow seed paddy in Suriyawewa. People are urged to supply us good local seed paddy. We are ready to pay for this so that we could cultivate and distribute the rice. We need the cooperation of all for this.

Bee-keeping is not practised here now. We get bees’ honey from countries such as Australia. We saw in Australia, a country which produces high quality bees’ honey, that they keep sugar-based items outside the beehives in the evening. I also saw places where they keep cattle for slaughter. I saw that these animals do not have adequate food or water to drink. Those interested in protecting the environment, and those who talk about the production and sale of items unsuitable for human consumption are silent on this.

In the early days, we produced good quality jaggery here. Legend has it that a king when he heard about Jaggery production, wanting to test the veracity of the stories he had heard, secretly went to check. When he saw the workers sweating and wearing soiled clothes he spoke to a person, who answered, “Your Majesty, they say one thing and do something different.”

People are chasing behind an economy which is not bringing in suitable results. The quality of food and other products has gone down. Today even the basic medicinal plants such as Kuppameniya and Binkohomba are hard to find.

Our main topic today is about rice and the paddy fields. With the Paddy Lands Act the cultivator became the owner of the land. Rich land owners became poor. Though the poor man became rich, the greed for other people’s land became his downfall. The farmer gave up his loin cloth and his son donned a trouser. Today the fear of ‘rat fever’ prevents farmers from getting into the field. Though paddy fields have become fields of grass, there are no cattle to graze. Instead of cows, we have the packets of milk. Since we do not have an adequate supply of local meat we have to import meat. We do not have local milk and meat in adequate supply. We have a clean sea around us with a great supply of fresh fish. But the budget has given priority to tinned fish from abroad.

The fallow paddy fields do not have even animals to graze in them. Our village folks have gone abroad for jobs. Fallow land has not been used for any other work. We import rice and some varieties, not suitable for human consumption, are sold at Rs. 80 a kilo.There are no specified standards. Poor varieties of rice cannot be kept for more than two weeks and therefore if we have a famine or a natural calamity we will be deep trouble.

To get out of this problem and to find an alternate way of cultivating our fields, one solution is the hand tractor. Since the Chinese tractor is big and a single person is not able to handle, it we are suggesting hand tractors so that our fields could be cultivated again.

Our aim is to get hand tractors issued under a cooperative scheme with the guidance of religious leaders, so that the fallow paddy fields can be developed with the introduction of our own seed paddy varieties. In this way we could increase the income of our farmers four or five times. We could then give good rice to the people – rice that is cultivated without artificial fertiliser and poisonous chemicals.

The agriculture of our country went into decay because there was no adequate income from it, and labour had to be hired since voluntary labour was inadequate. Additionally, extra expenditure was incurred on oil and fertiliser. The high cost of tractor equipment also contributed. We are now encouraging the village farmer societies. We seek support from those willing to donate tractors and other equipment. We also need support from Urban and Provincial Council authorities, religious institutions and the clergy. With their help we can raise the living standard of the villager. You could contact ‘Sahana Sevaya’, Gangaramaya, 61, Sri Jinarathana Road, Colombo 02 by letter or phone 0112435169, 0112327084 and obtain more details.

Today we have largely death donation societies. Cooperative societies seem to be dead! There are no societies to uplift the poor people and develop their lives. I am appealing for help. We seek new or old tractors as aid. We do not need financial help. In every village, societies are being organised to publicize this. A few expatriates living abroad have agreed to donate a few hand tractors. We wish to take the first step to supply good seed paddy and increase its quality, increase the income of the farmer and make the village united and the fields productive. We invite the people to join us in this mission to supply good food to our people.

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