Subsidizing Fertilizers will make Farmers Slaves to Companies

Asian Tribune
June 27, 2011

In a letter to the Editor, Ranil Senananyake pointed out that, “The current subsidy in fertilizer is essentially an aid to the fertilizer industry.”

He added that applying fertilizer on an agricultural field destroys the natural soil ecosystem, on which we have relied for generations. It also makes the farmer reliant on inputs of fertilizer forever, as the soil will lose its fertility.

Ranil Senanayake was responding to the News Report http://asiantribune.com/news/2011/06/21/rs-50-billion-fertilizer-subsidy… “Rs. 50 Billion Fertilizer subsidy: An investment to re-establish Sri Lanka’s past Glory and Grandeur,” by A.A.M.Nizam

Given below the fulltext of Ranil Senanayake’s letter to the Editor:

“The current subsidy in fertilizer is essentially an aid to the fertilizer industry.

Applying fertilizer on an agricultural field destroys the natural soil ecosystem on which we have relied for generations. It also makes the farmer reliant on inputs of fertilizer forever, as the soil will loose its fertility. Added to this the distribution of high fertilizer demanding varieties, just to increase crop weight is another short sighted move.

As the Rt Hon. D.S.Senanayake was fond of quoting:

“ Agriculture is not merely a way of making money by raising crops; it is not merely an industry or a business; it is essentially a public function or service performed by private individuals for the care and use of the land in the national interest: and the farmers in the course of securing a living and a private profit are custodians of the basis of national life. Agriculture is therefore affected with a clear and unquestionable public interest ….”

“Does the new vision see agriculture merely an industry or a business or does it share the vision of the ‘Father’ of this nation that is it an essential public function? If it is also a public function, it must work with the component biodiversity of farms to further the aims of providing humanity with clean, healthy food while at the same time contributing to the goals set out in international conventions such as the CBD, CSD and Kyoto protocol.

“Subsiding fertilizer will always make food production dependent on external inputs.

“How can we capture our past glory and grandeur if we have to seek money from abroad to purchase and subsidize fertilizer every year?

“We will just become slaves to the fertilizer companies.

“There will never be agricultural independence on this road.

“Where is the public interest here?