October 18, 2023
COLOMBO – The agricultural policies of successive governments have rendered millions of Lankans insecure, Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) has said in a media statement.
Historically, the major victims of these policies have been smallholder food producers and the members of the plantation community. However, during the past two years, due to the restrictions on imports, a large segment of Sri Lankans have felt the crunch, MONLAR has said.
“As of today, 5.3 million people in Sri Lanka are food insecure. This proves that what the government has been doing for more than 70 years to this date to feed its people has failed. The government’s attempts to ensure food security have failed. What the governments have been doing to ensure farmers’ livelihoods have failed. What the governments have been doing to alleviate rural poverty have failed. The laws, bills, policies, international treaties, and Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) which were brought up to guarantee food security, have left the people hung out to dry; while very few businessmen and their friendly political counterparts have been riding the gravy train for years,” MONLAR said.
MONLAR said both the World Food Forum and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); the institutions promising to end global hunger, are ‘selectively blind’ to hundreds of millions of people around the world starving. The benefactors who are funding these failed endeavours, such as IMF, World Bank, and Investment Banks, have only made the crisis their cash cow, and now these vultures are circling overhead of more than 50 countries that are crippled with foreign debt, MONLAR said.
“While denouncing the IMF and World Bank-funded market-driven Food Regime of Sri Lanka, we call for a People’s Food System starting from Food production to Food market and responsible consumption through Agroecology, ensuring Food Sovereignty where Smallholder Food Producers have their right to Land, Water, and Seeds. We demand the government to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas – UNDROP, which is useful to strengthen the promotion and protection of the rights of food producers in Sri Lanka,” MONLAR said.
The organisation has called upon the smallholder food producers in Sri Lanka to join the Agroecology Movement to ensure food soverignty in Sri Lanka.