The task of becoming self sufficient in paddy. Why go to Malaysia: Look at the past- to the Seventies when were became Self Sufficient
Posted on October 26th, 2023

By Garvin Karunaratne

It is reported that our President Ranil Wickremasinghe is seking th advise from foreign countries like Thailand to resurrect agricultural development in Sri Lanka. We need not go far. Lets go back to the Seventies when we did have a marvellous extension service that enabled us to become self sufficient in paddy, our staple crop.

I enclose one of my earlier writings that tell it all.

How our excellent agricultural extension system of the Sixties was sacrificed.

Posted on September 10th, 2020

By Garvin Karunaratne  former G.A. Matara

In view of the attempts by our President to boost our agriculture, it may be worthwhile to ascertain what did happen to the excellent agricultural extension service we had in the Sixties- the effort of the combined Agriculture Department and Agrarian Services. 

I enclose a chapter from my forthcoming publication: NuwaraKalaviya which details what happened.. 

I was stunned  to read  a news item stating that  youths from schools in. Anuradhapura are very likely to be the cannon fodder for renal disease. Students in grades 10 to 12 in the North Central Province are prone to contact renal diseases…earlier it was people in the 30s and 40s.”(Daily Mirror (12/4) 

My mind lingered to the 25,000 farmers of the North Central Province who have succumbed to the CDKu- the Kidney Disease.  Some of them may have been the young farmers with whom I worked in the 296 cultivation committees I set up in 1962. Then there was a hive of activity- discussions and arguments  going on for hours at times till late at night-the thrust of it was to use high yielding varieties and supplement with fertilizer. This was accomplished.  

Sad to say,  some two decades later certain  administrative changes that were made did decimate the very effective   agricultural extension system that we had.  . In addition with the abolition of the Paddy Lands Act in the Eighties, the agrarian services with its overseers and the cultivation committee, the peoples’ organization at the village level ceased to exist. In around 1993, the trained agricultural overseers- the Krushikarma Vyapti Sewakas at the village level who formed the king pin that guided fertilizer and weedicde use at the village level were promoted as Grama Niladharis and till today no extension overseer with any training has taken their place. The farmers have no one to guide them. The closest trained officer is the Agricultural Instructor at the divisional level who has any number from 5000 to 14000 farmers to provide guidance. 

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