I have maintained that there is no one in the policy making bodies who understands farming and its practices and practicalities. Bureaucrats and Ministers who own land, farmed by others think they know what the real problems are. This is not like running a plantation, this is a hand to mouth existence and lying to them merely makes the liar a hypocrite also. This is a serious problem not to be taken lightly.
So it was with interest that I read about Basil Rakapakse meeting with Agribusiness Leaders (minor industrialists) about how they should use the raw materials from the success of the Divi Neguma program that has provided huge surpluses of food and turn that into export products or other forms such as preservation, canning and such like. It goes to show his lack of knowledge of how the inputs into Agribusinesses are collected.
To those not in the loop, the Divi Neguma program attempts, though not at all successfully as I have pointed out in earlier entries here, to help each household, produce healthy food, in the way of a home based activity, both for consumption, and the surplus to sell, and to provide unneeded expenses, such as Dimo Battas to take this business a stage further by using that means to market their products or other similar products from their fellow brethren in the village.
I am not repeating the scandal of the Dimo Batta here, with these poor folk being forced to pay Rs30K a month just as the lease payment for 56 months, but to show that impractical ideas are put into people who first need a basic understanding of how to engage in an economic activity.
The Agribusiness leaders know, that in order to run their operation, they need a supply of raw material close to their factories and at a reasonable cost. Small economic units are very inefficient in this. That is why there is no practical solution for the desperate need of pol-katu,(coconut shell) to be taken from each household say once a month to the company that needs the raw material in bulk to make charcoal. Forget Divi Neguma, it is the Farmer who you should engage in.
The same principal applies here. Then we have the farmer who really needs to engage in a relationship with the processor in order to find a market for his produce. At present he is losing heavily by not covering his cost in income he receives from the wholesalers for his produce, due to the oversupply by the Divi Neguma lot, which has decimated the prices of most everything the farmer currently plants except for “TOBACCO”. SO PLEASE first decide on policy that is HOLISTIC! and not ad hoc.