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Debt and lack of resources cause rural poverty – AKD

Crippling personal debt and the lack of basic resources to carry on an agricultural livelihood are being identified by the National People’s Movement as the biggest issues facing Rural Sri Lankans.

The coalition’s Presidential Candidate, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told a public rally yesterday that the most basic of facilities such as the provision of seeds and water were now unavailable for the farmers from their original sources.

“All of us need to buy seeds sold to us by (US Multinational) Monsanto,” he said addressing a public rally held in Thambuttegama. In the past, he said government seed farms met all the needs of the farmer. But these seed farms have been sold to the private sector.  “We don’t even see the type of Chilies and vegetables we saw in the past,” he said.

He pointed out that the Mahaweli scheme had failed to live up to its promise to enable farmers to cultivate three seasons each year. Instead, he said, the number of functioning rural agricultural tanks has dropped drastically.

He said in many of the rural areas there was a shortage of water.  “When did we ever imagine we would have to buy our water from a shop?” he asked.

He said his coalition was intent on restoring the rural economy of this country and give it strength.

Dissanayake pointed out that it was hard to sustain current cultivation methods because of the lack of manpower. “We need to switch to technology, and to do that we must consolidate the farms, “he proposed.

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