A Sri Lanka farmer leader who represents 1.8 million farmers in his country will talk to New Zealand Dairy Workers Union members in Hamilton this Friday (April 3) to express fears about intensive farming on the environment.
Sarath Fernando, director of Sri Lanka agriculture group Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform (Monlar) is in New Zealand as guest of overseas aid agency Christian World Service. He last week spoke in Auckland at the annual forum of the Council for International Development, an umbrella organisation of 90 New Zealand aid and development agencies.
Sarath Fernando argues against large-scale industrial farming in favour of small-holder farming as a way to reduce strain on the environment and improve the lives of the world’s poorest. In the 1970s, he spent five years in a Sri Lanka prison, without being charged, for protesting the rights of small farmers to make a decent living.
Monlar encourages farmers to farm free of fertilizers, using low-cost ecological methods that eventually save on production costs.
Sarath Fernando’s influence extends beyond Sri Lanka. He has set up relationships with people’s organisations across Asia and plays a leading role in promoting poverty eradication. He was last year a panellist on the BBC programme Food – Who Pays the Price? which debated important issues affecting global food production.
April 1, 2009