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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

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Grow native and reduce food miles



Paddy cultivation

Globalization, started travelling across the world in 80s, has gradually come to an end, tiring and hotch-potch blowing, as expected by many. After only less than three decades, comparatively a short spell of time, this 'fits all' myth mounted unprecedented socio-political issues in the countries of Asian, African and Latin American, pioneered to adapt neo-liberalism.

Sri Lanka, the first nation state to import it from the West to the Asian region, faced the same having changed its closed macro-economic policy practised since the declaration of so called independence. UNP, during their massive publicity for the general election in late 70s, campaigned to dump the earlier state craft, powered by the then SLFP government after founding Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 1972.

It was the open economy, tutored by the West, to remove all barricades for a free market system from which price is determined in a competitive atmosphere. Once this system was introduced people got used to follow an 'easy going lifestyle' demanding everything on cash.

This, obviously, blind and bold decision created a lot of internal issues paralyzing national economy, was in full flowering at that time.

Modern World

After the industrial revolution erupted in 15th century, world became more receptive towards liberalism and traditional agriculture was transformed into a commercial business, so as to make profit centred and cash based income. In this era, all sectors were regarded as cash crops whereas land was exploited in unprecedented manner to maximize profits.

Along with the Green Revolution Movement began in the mid of 20th century, chemically manufactured fertilizer played a vital role to increase the productivity of the land while modern tactics used against nature, caused soil degradation, crept in devastating the human approach of the age old agronomic methods.

Cultivated new seeds crumbled the eco-circle in duality being modern farming, an agro-industry backed by chemical manufacturers, which handles and controls 'soil - cultivation - crop' interconnection.

Meanwhile, after '80s, in a sphere of profit making, liberal economic school invented a new philosophy to rationalize the market approach over agriculture sector as land cultivation activities should be cut down and government should lend its hand only to the potential business entities for 'fast cash’.

Thus, new momentum in the society encouraged trading instead of investment, resulted in short term benefits. Agriculture was one of the major areas ill treated and neglected.

Easy - going

This vision ruined our traditional values. People who earned daily food in tiring efforts started begging and remained as dependents. Farming had been nationally criticized by the political leaders and branded as somebody's profession. Fast foods, instant drinks, take away meals became daily shouts where as all happened to be customers and consumers under the backdrop of ‘end user'. It is very clear that the gateway of this market line remained in off shore. In this critical social context our 'nation state' was transformed into a 'client state' through a series of structural adjustment programmes - SAP, recommended by Western financial institutions.

Traditional food culture practised from ancient times was threatened during this period, as a coincidental fact. Healthy lives maintained through nutritious meals on daily basis prepared by the folks having indigenous traditions went outdated, bringing in instant food culture as a lifestyle choice. It damaged the physical fitness of the people weakening the immune system and mounted new social issues before long to support scholars with statistical data to prove their anticipations.

Hybrid vegetables and fruits, junk foods became more familiar in these 'easy - going' days widening the health sector to look after new 'life style disease' victims of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetic and so on. In return agro-chemical producers took steps to supply medicinal drugs under the same brand names creating a vicious circle among people.

Seemingly, subversion of economies towards neo-liberalism in the anti-West alliance has not been in line with a development process. It is a 'bad to worst' situation, which shows how global exploitation makes its entry to a vulnerable place, adding insult to the injury.

Thereby native production systems appeared to have reached the state of a natural death. All in all, at the end of the day 'client state of Sri Lanka' came to know the reality, having claimed an 'unbalance sheet' with a 'loss and loss account' relating to the domestic production. It was the story of many countries guided by the West, to set up modern economies.

The big picture of globalization depicts a life threatening atmosphere in the world. Global warming caused over negative impacts on nature has critically damaged the ecological circle, according to the scientists.

As a result agriculture industry began to face a host of new problems. Transportation of foods from different parts of the world to those in need is likely to get complicated as taxes on carbon emission are put into place, a new age issue. This has made the living space more narrow.

Climate change is also taken into account in modern commercial sector.

For example, Cranfield University in 2007, reported red rose cultivation peaking up during Valentine's Days with artificial irrigation and heated greenhouses claimed more carbon emissions. In this context a question is emerging whether to consider red rose as a symbol of passion of love, beauty at large.

Global warming

Global warming has been the sign of danger and the focal point during this era, alarmed an emergency situation which does not show any single door to exit for us all. Thus, the victims, who are responsible as well to be victimized, now should engineer a new world order, as a last resort to make the globe a comfort zone, despite disconcerts remained in the regions in view of mitigating negative influences of the Industrial Revolution to the natural environment.

Only after the fatal attack made by Al-qaeda on the World Trade Centre in 2001, world was compelled to awake from its long sleep. The Twin Towers, symbolizing capitalism and socialism, fell to the ground, creating a new vista in the international political landscape. It was the era of post-globalization, where people were in search of a third way economic approach to redress the errors made during the trials towards total development.

Most modern farming

To date the end result of the open economy has been highly debatable. John Ralston Saul states, 'Grand economic theories rarely last more than a few decades. Globalization had a 30 year's run, dominating many aspects of Western life for the past quarter-century and holding sway over the entire world for more than a decade.

But the results have not been happy for most people, especially compared to the record of globalization’s immediate predecessor, the various forms of social democracy that blossomed among 1945 and the global economic woes of the mid-1970s.

This earlier system, despite its bureaucratic clumsiness, brought rising standards of living to some people around the world and a measure of hope for the others. Globalization, has failed spectacularly in its promise of spreading wealth and reducing poverty. In fact, just the opposite has happened under the hand of the IMF, free trade deals and the World Bank.'

Sweeping obituary for the era of globalization is unavoidable, while agreeing the influence of nationalism has been underestimated by free-market partisans. The problems are already clear in many countries. This historic mistake and recent economic fall out, offered more evidence that globalization was on the way out. Now we are entering one potent moment of history to revive the nation states.

Nationalism

On the more humane side, the rise of 'enlightened nationalism', seen in Asia, Africa and Latin America, paved the way for a different kind of new world order supporting the Kyoto accords on global warming.

Uganda is a country doing what is can to fight back to bring an alternative future. They are also trying to tap into age old knowledge for guidance of how farmers have coped with hard times in the past having the best bank of information, stored over generations. One key to making agricultural adaptation to climate change work may be reduction of 'food miles' in food production.

It is a recent concern of agricultural economists in the industrial agriculture that raises global food price. Most modern farming deals with minimum travel time and length to cut down the cost of tax on carbon emissions. Further they recommend all to grow native and reduce food miles in view of avoiding periodic food shortages in the global agro-products trade.

Western countries

Written by RFF's (Resources for the Future) Pierre Crosson, the paper, 'Impacts of climate change on agriculture' suggests, 'The potential impacts of climate change on agriculture at both the global and national level, are important to the United States because our agriculture system is so inextricably entwined with global agriculture.

‘We cannot understand what might happen in the US without taking account of impacts elsewhere in the world.'

Surprise to note that the so called experts attached to our local chemical and industrial agriculture, watch at '100 mile radius food system' with closed eyes, which has been quite strong over the last decade in Western countries. 'To deal with climate change adaptation you need broad-based sustainable economic growth. That’s the best way. More income for farmers and poor people means they’re better able to adapt to the challenges they face.'

That was the view of Sam Bickersteth, a climate change and agriculture adviser to the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

artcabin.sl@gmail.com
 

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