|MONLAR member at her agro-ecological home garden|
We the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform ( MONLAR ) and many other organizations associated with us are very happy about the intentions of recently declared “Divineguma” program, aiming at assisting the building of one million household economic units. The intention seems to be to assist and encourage households to grow their own home gardens. The philosophy behind this program seems to be that the ordinary people are capable of solving their major problems of food insecurity and hunger through their own creative abilities utilizing what nature gives them free of charge.
|Ornamental plants in a MONLAR organic home garden|
We, MONLAR, a movement that has worked in Sri Lanka during the last 20 years are very happy and convinced about this direction since our experiences, almost island wide have proved this possibility.
It is our intention, therefore, to extend our fullest support to this program. We have been carrying out such programs consistently during the last 15 years or so in many different areas in the country, covering most of the agro-ecological zones and have presented to the government our experiences from time to time. We have learnt that the way to maximize benefits of such a program is to make them completely ecological, which means to make the full use of the benefits of nature in all its aspects without having any adverse impact on nature. This would be the best way of making such agriculture most viable to the poorer sections of society. This approach is briefly discussed in annexure
|Bio fertilizers at a MONLAR members home garden|
We see the possibility of changing the present approach in Divi Neguma by adopting a more comprehensive approach of ecological farming. This can easily be done by adopting the 10 steps that were described in the annexure to this letter, on ecological agriculture. There are quite a lot of trained instructors / organizations that we work with. We see the possibility of your transforming the Divineguma, gama neguma, api wawamu Rata Nagamu and also the Samurdhi Programmes into very beneficial program. Sri Lanka can then really become a miracle of Asia and an example to the rest of the world.
It would be disastrous to allow these program to be utilized to further promote the type of chemical farming into all home gardens by introducing the commercial seeds propagated by companies and by getting people to apply chemical fertilizers that would make it impossible and very damaging to the small farmers and all consumers.
As said by the UN Special Rapporteur on right to food in his press statement “commercial companies would only invest in activities that would give them greater profits, by introducing their hybridized seeds and other external inputs”. This trend should be looked upon with great caution.
We would therefore like to appeal to you to give us an early opportunity to explain and illustrate this to you and to the Cabinet Ministers who are in charge of this programme and also to the department of agriculture.
(and list Of organizations that agree to this proposal )