Monkeys drive nut prices: Sri Lanka President
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s primate population was responsible for destroying crops and contribted to a recent shortage of coconuts that resulted in dizzy prices, President Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday.
About 35 percent of Sri Lankan crops were destroyed by animals, the president said adding that monkeys were the leading predators ahead of elephants, wild boar and peacocks.
Addressing the launch of a draft of the “National Sustainable Development Vision,” the president called for immediate solutions to the massive destruction of crops.
“Wild animals are destroying 35 percent of our farm produce. A friend of mine told me that we are a country that grows food for animals while the people go hungry. No other country allows this.
“The number one predator is the monkey. There are over a million monkeys in the country. Each monkey destroys at least one bunch of coconuts a day. When the crop drops and prices go up, people curse us…,” the president said.
He said urgent solutions were also needed for the human-elephant conflict which was claiming a steady toll.
He said he was moved when he saw a newspaper picture of a grade five student kneeling at the coffin of her father who had been killed by a wild elephant.
Another mother and her daughter were hospitalized after they were attacked by an elephant . The mother was escorting the child to write the grade five scholarship exam when they were attacked, the president said adding that there must be a sustainable solution to the human-elephant conflict.
He also said the country was facing a serious nutrition problem with over 15 percent of children below the age of five years suffering from malnutrition. A total of 17 percent of children below five years of age were also stunted, the president said. About 15 percent of new born babies were underweight.
At the same time, about 45 percent of women in the country were either over weight or obese, he added. (COLOMBO, Aug 7, 2018)