Need of the Hour: Your Assistance to Deliver Essential Medical Equipment, Food, Fuel and Help Re-start the Agri-Food Supply Chain in Sri Lanka on or before 5pm, Thursday 6th
Posted on May 2nd, 2022

Sri Lankan Canadian Action Coalition 

Aubowan ,

This is the hour of need for Sri Lanka! As those that have left Sri Lanka for better lives in Canada, we need to first accept that as Canadians or ex-patriots we can do more! Your 5 minute effort for this task will go a very long way!

Canada has helped many countries and we also can request their help via your Federal Minister on or before 5pm, Thursday 6th May 2022. Please use the available Canadian political instrument to request help to Sri Lanka at this time as follow-up with your MP. If there are any questions, please email info@srilankancanadian.ca.


Here are the steps:

Step 1: Find-out your MP contact information using this link : https://www.srilankancanadian.ca/findmp


Step 2: Edit the sample email provided below as well as an attachment and fill in the yellow areas and email it to or hand deliver to your MPs office. If emailing, please include  your MP email address, melanie.joly@parl.gc.ca, justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca, info@srilankancanadian.ca


Step 3: Please call, email and follow-up after one week with your MP on the progress. Please don’t vote your MP if they cannot do this help to Sri Lanka. In the meantime we will be also lobbying with the received(CCd) emails from the community.

Thank you!

SLCAC Action Team

P.s. FB Post for reference is:

https://www.facebook.com/SriAction/posts/1013391289317612

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1st May 2022

Name of YOUR MP
Address of YOUR MP office

Hon Mélanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada)
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario,
Canada
K1A 0A6

To: The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs,  & Global affairs, via my MP

Urgent appeal where Canadian aid can now make a hundred-fold impact in delivering  in strengthening the Energy, Food and Pharmaceuticals supply of a beleaguered commonwealth country – Sri Lanka

Executive summary
The COVID pandemic followed by the sudden Ukraine war has sent the cost of fuel and fertilizers into an upward spiral that has impacted us even in Canada. Its impact on many developing nations like Sri Lanka, Peru, Pakistan etc., has been catastrophic. We as Canadians who immigrated to Canada from Sri Lanka  are aware of the anarchic situation that has arisen in Sri Lanka with a near collapse of the civil administration. The Canadian government too would be fully aware, through its high commissioner, of the current catastrophic situation in Sri Lanka without electricity, food or pharmaceuticals.  Its revenue sources like tourism and export of agricultural products, apparel have halted due to lack of fuel. Here we, as a knowledgeable immigrant community, propose to the Canadian government an inexpensive but highly effective low-cost means of how to help at the very grass-roots level.

We commend Canada’s aid and developmental assistance in response to COVID-19 pandemic. We want to highlight the recent support to Sri Lanka by other countries:
1. Equivalent of CAD 470,000 by Italy
2. India providing a USD 1 billion as a line of credit and USD$500 million fuel to Sri Lanka along

3. Australia providing $2.5 million to boost food security through the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

In brief we propose the following:

(i) The grass-roots delivery of a package of agrochemicals (e.g., Fertilizer) and a quantum of fuel to members of the farming communities to kick-start their on-coming planting season so that there would be food in the fall.


(ii) The quantum of fuel” can be in the form of a solar panel that will help the farmers to run their irrigation water pumps. Also quantities of fossil fuel is needed to help start the economic processes.


(iii) Pairing of ten major hospitals in Sri Lanka with ten hospitals in Canada so that pharmaceutical links can be established.

(iv) Attaching a list of drugs that are critically needed in Sri Lanka
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1rrUF8ajtEkWsbaeTykPRriB7EWKORZXs?usp=sharing

(v) Indicating urgently needed medical items in Sri Lanka

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1rrUF8ajtEkWsbaeTykPRriB7EWKORZXs?usp=sharing

(vi) Address food shortages in Sri Lanka via World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Need of the Hour: Your Assistance to Deliver Essential Medical Equipment and Strengthen the Agri-Food Supply Chain in Sri Lanka

We have migrated to this beautiful country from Sri Lanka and have been contributing to this wonderful place which we call home now. Sri Lanka, an island nation of 22 million, is currently facing an economic and political crisis with crippling inflation sending the cost of basic goods skyrocketing. Sri Lanka then had to fall back on its foreign exchange reserves to pay off government debt, shrinking its reserves from $6.9 billion in 2018 to $2.2 billion this year. From socio-economic point of view, all these had led into the facts that, globally, the rating agencies to downgrade Sri Lanka to near default levels, meaning the country lost its access to overseas markets to receive much essential inputs to maintain its essential health services and commercial agricultural systems to defend food and health security at the level of a household. For Sri Lankans, the crisis has turned their daily lives into an endless cycle of waiting in lines for basic goods – there are no exceptions for prescribed drugs and much needed agricultural inputs and many of which are by now being rationed. Topping all that, the government in March floated the Sri Lankan rupee, a move that has appeared aimed at devaluing the currency to qualify for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and encourage remittances. The exchange rate of a Canadian Dollar has, in consequently, been soared from LKR 160 to almost 280 within the month of April 2022.

Supply of Primary Medical Services is in Danger

The country imports around 85% of its medical supplies. But with foreign currency reserves running low, essential drugs are now difficult to obtain. The medical experts in Sri Lanka have warned that a catastrophic number of people could die as the crisis-hit country’s healthcare system teeters on the edge of collapse amid crippling power cuts and shortages of life-saving medications. It has been reported that drugs to treat heart attacks and tubes to help newborn babies breathe are in short supply nationwide, while blackouts are forcing doctors in rural Sri Lanka to stitch wounds and treat snakebites in the dark. Further, changes in consumption and lifestyle have increased the incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer. Communicable diseases like dengue fever, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, as well as the possibility of a flu epidemic, still pose significant health security challenges for Sri Lanka. All these highlights that the essential healthcare services are going to collapse unless there’s immediate relief”, or in other words, they fear a health catastrophe, if international help doesn’t arrive soon

Reestablishment of Much Affected Agricultural Supply Chain

The Government of Sri Lanka was in a move to transform the local agricultural system that heavily dependent on synthetic imported plant nutrients” (mainly in the form of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium) and protectors” (to control pest and diseases) into one using organic products (i.e. ‘organic agriculture’). Although this goal was stated in election manifesto to be achieved over a period of 10 years, the government made a significant mistake by imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and other agro-chemicals on ad-hoc basis without caring of expert advice. This led 2-million farming community involves with paddy, other field crops, fruits and vegetables cultivation as well as plantation crops such as tea, rubber, coconut and spice crops to go organic”, which was not locally available in adequate quantities and in right quality standards. Faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, Sri Lanka, has, however, called off” this ill-conceived national experiment in organic agriculture this winter. The outcome of this decision was, nevertheless, brutal and swift. Against claims that organic methods can produce comparable yields to conventional farming, domestic rice production fell 20 percent in just the first six months. Sri Lanka, long self-sufficient in rice production, has been forced to import $450 million worth of rice even as domestic prices for this staple of the national diet surged by around 50 percent. It has been reported that a reduction in average agricultural productivity by 20% could cause a decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 3.0% suggesting an overall contraction of the economy with the implementation of the import ban. In the light of those, when it comes to now, it is much needed to strengthen the weakened agricultural systems, especially those small to medium-scale agribusinesses along the agri-supply and value chain that uses those ‘specialized’ plant nutrients and protectors in recommended quantifies and quality. 

Your Assistance is Warranted

When it comes to now, country does not possess, in terms of health services, adequate amount of essential drugs and other basic equipment to maintain health services at its minimum level, and in relation to the agricultural systems, the specialized fertilizer and other plant nutrients especially to be used in protected agricultural systems, including green houses. There is a severe fuel shortage as well. Since most of Sri Lanka’s electricity grid is dependent on fossil fuel, this has impacted daily living due to power cuts sometimes amounting to 12-24 hours. The lack of availability of those ‘essential inputs’ to maintain the country’s most important living systems, i.e. health and agriculture, has led to life of those poor rural and urban communities into a threat and breaking down of supplying of basic food to those communities and up to high quality food and vegetables to international markets and specialized entities like hotels. Although government has come up with plans to manufacture them locally, such is not possible immediately and until such time it is much needed to enrich the relevant authorities with those products in need.

As a citizen, I urge from you and the Canadian Government to come forward to assist our country at this critical juncture by extending its helping hand to fulfill those needs. Please be a friend to Sri Lanka. What we expect at this moment is to delivery of a fair stock of those essential medical drugs and equipment and plant nutrients and protectors that can directly be used on those agribusinesses effectively to re-establish the system into the normal rapidly. Please assist with the rejuvenation of the economic value chains. Those affected communities across the country and agri-entrepreneurs, especially those small to medium, are not in position to purchase those highly specialized products from the local markets at this juncture and even if they are available they are heavily priced and limited quantities are available. So, the authorities in Sri Lanka or your nominated parties would come up with an incentive-mechanism to distribute those into the hands of they are truly required. At this time I am concerned of your willingness to help and I leave it at the capable hands of our Canadian government to help.


Please call me or contact me to discuss this request.
Thank you,

Your name,
Phone number and address (must)

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