Friday, April 17, 2009

The exasperating saga continues. All I want is increased output farmers please!

My pleas just fall on deaf ears, when my mission as well as this blog is to get our growers to grow more, better, more efficient and so to reduce agri-produce costs to the consumer. The latest example is over these few days. I was caught in the depression in the Bay Bengal! Which resulted in some unusual and excessive rain over the Avurudhu period.

Taking advantage of this to my benefit, I had my whole field ploughed up as it had been less than a month from the past harvest. I would have preferred to use the deep plough which I used last time, but as the boy I engaged to do this wanted out quick, I had to use the rotary instead, and while the ground was wet had it completely turned over so all the “ipanalla” or uncut part of the paddy plant and the straw would be mulched into the soil and get a chance to deteriorate to form some good soil conditioning and improve fertility.

This means that when I get the water from the Minneriya tank for cultivation on May 10th I will have already taken the first steps in the soil and field preparation. Without water on the fields it is difficult to do and this was an opportunistic moment. Remember I have barely been a paddy farmer for 3 years, and most of my neighbors are lifers. They concurred with my efforts and when I asked them why they did not also follow, they just shrugged their shoulders in SL fashion and smiled. They are just too lazy, thinking more of the drinking and games of Avurudhu. They have the money for the diesel, the tractors and the expertise themselves. I hired a boy to work the tractor as I was alone.

It boggles the mind that the average Joe in SL does not seize the moment to improve his return, and just follows time honored traditions slavishly. “It is unheard of in these parts to plough the fields in preparation prior to Avurudhu!” What absolute crap I ever heard. “pardon my Ffrench!”. Tell me how I can I even attempt to make a difference with attitudes like this. I know I am always called a fool on my blogs, saying that the Sinhalaya is one who only gets off his backside only if he desperately needs something, and then only if he cannot steal it will he then work for it!

I cannot go on accepting such euphemisms describing my countrymen with a straight face when there really is a job to be done. All those Sri Lankans overseas, namely those of you who have been frustrated by the inner workings of the SL mindset and have decided to go to sunnier climes in search of both being more productive in your host or adopted land, think for a moment. We have lost your talent and are left with the rest.

How can we get you back? We need you! I cannot do it alone. It is a fight we must win, otherwise don’t even brag about the motherland you left behind and how good the “good ol days were” and how bad it now is. When you leave it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and when you return we can change it. Who said it is easy, but take some time read my blog share my frustrations and my hopes and don’t forget the sacrifices I have made. It is still a noble cause, and look ahead to your own future and that of your children if there is no Sri Lanka to brag about, but a basket case of inebriated louts living off charity and someone else’s gravy train. You may as well disown your heritage in that case. We can turn it round. It is just a mental thing, a moral boost and hope in our future.


Anonymous said...

You sound very frustrated! Hopefully you retain the mental strength to keep at it.

Anyway, how many Sri Lankans now making even moderate incomes in the west would return to the island to be an agriculturalist? It seems only those fed up with materialism would consider it, and I doubt there are many of them.

Good luck, it seems your crop will be more bountiful than your neighbours. Perhaps your example (and the $ returns) will inspire them to do more next time around.

Anonymous said...

Amen brother. It's the lankan way to criticize from afar when not living "in situ." Mahinda is doing this... Wikremesingha is doing that... Prabha is doing this... he should do this... etc.

Lankans that go abroad need to "be with us or against us." They can't be both without any commitment.

I agree with the earlier commentator that once the neigboring farmers see some of your increased returns, they will change their minds. Facts speak louder than words!

George said...

It's OK to vent your frustrations once in a while, Ranjit. What else can a Sri Lankan in Sri Lanka do? Most of our fellow countrymen, including farmers, haven't learned much, have they?

Every investment I have made in SL (both in agriculture and tourism) has been a loss. I have met only one family who have made a genuine effort to better themselves. They don't drink and indulge only in petty theft, which I can afford! Another of my employees is deeply in debt because his grown children sponge off him. But I am still optimistic. I can bear the losses as long as I am abroad, but when I eventually return to SL, I'll have to make some hard decisions.

On the other hand, I read in the Sunday Times that vegetable farmers in Dambulla are throwing their produce away because the Mudalali "mafia" is only buying their produce for a song. Just Rs. 5 for a kilo of tomatoes, for instance. Some farmers have committed suicide because they were deeply in debt. So there is always another side of the story.

Anonymous said...

Ranjith, there are quite a few Sri Lankans who are coming back, or are considering the option. The imminent end to the civil war will surely spur more to return 'home.' I for one live between Europe and Sri Lanka and yearn to be back in my home country. You once told me that there are more opportunities in Sri Lanka than anywhere else. That is so true. That message is being heard and understood now more than ever. Most of those living abroad yearn to be back home. Frustrations will plague us wherever we the East or in the West. One has to live through a freezing cold winter to realize that the grass is infact a lot less greener on the other side. My goal is to change the mind-set by making Sri Lankans believe in themselves and take charge of their lives if they want to have a better life for themselves and their children. We are blessed with so much and we can therefore make the most of what nature has given us to maintain the balance. Collectively, and individually, people like us, are doing our bit for Sri Lanka.