hotels and eating houses, supplying tasty dishes, have begun to
spring-up, at a fast pace, not only in Colombo and other big
cities, but, even in the remote villages.
It is quite satisfying that such
air-conditioned luxury hotels and restaurants have begun to
appear in various parts of our country.
Halls, where weddings, birthday
parties and other social events take place, with high-level
catering, have become a common sight, in most parts of our
Those less privileged people who enjoy
a meal in such luxury go back home, with a slight sense of envy.
Whatever that may be as everybody
knows, some useful vegetable, a good fruit or even a greenleaf
for a simple preparation cannot be had even if one were to
travel long miles.
It is a well-known fact that, sometime
ago, India was quite weak in the production of food. Most people
are not aware, that, even today, there are some areas in India,
that do not receive any rain for years and years. Despite India
is now self-sufficient in food.
In those former times, India exported
food, to earn foreign exchange. But, today, the foreign exchange
India receives from a variety of technological achievements, in
enormous. India does not obtain loans from the World Bank. A
state an individual, being indebted, is contrary to the
teachings of the Buddha. This were India is free from the burden
Both India and Sri Lanka received
Independence, more or less simultaneously.
Many are not aware, that, at that
time, Burma and Sri Lanka had a more stable economy. Today,
India has placed a ban on the export of food-items dictated by
the need to save food for their people.
Wherever the Indians live in the
world, they remit money regularly to their mother country.
Indians living abroad, import Indian products to the countries
they live in, market them and earn an income.
A quantity of rice, that had been
readied to be exported to Sri Lanka, was not allowed to be sent
here, by the Government of India. It was possible to import this
quantity of rice to Sri Lanka, through the intervention of our
President, who convinced the Government of India, about our
Under this state of affairs, it will
be extremely difficult for us to import such items as chillies,
spices and dhal from India, in the future.
In terms of the prices prevailing in
the World Market, the cost of food items of good quality, has
invariably escalated worsened by some countries using various
grams and other food items to produce bio-fuel.
Since fuel is a priestly item, they
will convert food items into bio-fuels. This too will contribute
substantially to the escalation of food prices in the world
If this is the situation, and if we
have only pepper and some cinnamon, food items will have to be
imported. Given this context from where will food producing
institutions, hotels, restaurants and catering houses etc.
obtain the essential spices and other items in the future?
Though some years ago, Sri Lanka was
self-sufficient in rice, today, the production of paddy has
declined, due to the intensive use of agro-chemicals and
fertilizers, overlooking human labour. The affluent, may eat and
drink. But, what is going to be the fate of the poor,
Today we cannot hire labour. No one to
pluck a nut. The wages that have to paid for such labour, keeps
It is high time, the rich the poor and
the middle classes took mammoties and started waging a
If this does not happen, envy and
jealousy will begin to dominate society, and there will come a
time when no one will be able to live. The primary cause for
this is hunger. The wealthy, can invest part of their resources,
in cultivation. Various business enterprises and commercial
institutions can initiate cultivation projects.
The state can give tax holidays and
tax concessions, to those who launch cultivation projects. The
state can extend other forms of assistance as well.
When Tsunami came no one suffered
hunger. But, we will not be able to enjoy this good fortune for
ever. We all must initiate cultivation work, to acquire food for
today to satisfy our mouths and stomachs.
All of us, priests, rulers the
opposition, the entrepreneurs, landowners, the landless, must
give some thought to this, in peace in unity and collectively.
Irrespective of one’s status, everyone
should cultivate something, even in a small way, to compensate
for the food one eats. Or else they must help those others who
cultivate. Everyone must contribute through this process.
Laws should be enacted to force people
to cultivate all uncultivated land, from 5 perches above. Taxes
should be levied from uncultivated lands.
The masses should be given an
incentive to produce organic fertilizers here by imposing high
taxes on imported agro-chemical and fertilizers.
Even the few drops of rain that falls
on the roof, should be conserved. Minor anicuts, sluices and
minor tanks should be constructed to preserve river water.
Naturally occurring drains and canals can be made to take water
to desired places.
The natural 'drains' can be
constructed out of the trunks of Kitul, Coconut and arecanut
Water should be conserved through such
People should be shown how people in
other countries cultivate various crops. This will give our
people an awareness.
Please thank again the days, when we
could not wear attractive costumes, when we could not travel in
a vehicle or we could not prepare food that gave forth a
Time has come now. The price of a cup
of milk tea is the shanty-kiosk has risen to Rs. 20/- The
underprivileged people demand higher wages. Cost of living has
begun to escalate. All irrespective of whether they are rich or
poor - should give serious thought to this, impartially. There
are some, who today leave the country. All the others must live
in this country together happily. Food is essential.
When deprived of food animals become
crazy. Human beings too will suffer that fate.
The insurgencies of 1971 and of 1989,
arose due to the lack of employment, and the consequent
inability to satisfy the mouth and the belly.
Let us all dedicate ourselves to
cultivation, forgetting such differences as race and creed.
Those who cannot cultivate, should
honestly support those who cultivate, with labour or with
financial assistance. Everyone has a mouth. Everyone has a
belly. We cannot insert stones and sand into these. Even the
price of sand has escalated. Everyone must think about this and
The time is now. Today, there is no
shortage of jobs. But there are no people to take those jobs.
The wages and salaries earned through employment are not
sufficient for food and clothing. Hunger cannot be satisfied
with such deceptions like Andare's action, who ate sugar. When
the mouths and bellies get agitated with inflation - envy,
jealousy and anger begin to escalate. In whatever way, people
earn money, the main function is to keep the mouth and the belly
Priests must become alert to the need
to prepare people to cultivate. If every inch of land in the
villages, is utilized to grow one's food, all the poor Sri
Lankans, will be able to face the food problem.
Political speeches are of no use for
hunger. Refrain from picketing, strikes and demonstrations.
Instead, resolve to struggle with the earth. Vietnam, a nation
that was destroyed some time ago, is self-sufficient in food
today and industries are flourishing.
We in our country, possess such
natural resources as sun, rain and wind. But, the present
suffering has reached us, because of our lethargy and
Those days, the rural household,
purchased only salt. Today they have to buy even the water.
Even the King of Gods, Sakra, cannot
prevent the rising of the price of a loaf of bread to Rs. 100/-
and the price of a Kilo of rice to Rs. 100/-.
Before such a crisis occurs, may the
eyes of everyone open to the need to cultivate our food in our
country itself, just as the Indians and other nations do.