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Monday, June 27, 2022

Recommendations by academics are not sufficiently considered  by decision-makers even when vital decisions  are taken – Prof Gamini Senanayake 

Text and picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA 

The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy,  Emeritus Professor Gamini Senanayake said that lawmakers do not pay sufficient attention to the recommendations made by intellectuals when making vital decisions.

Professor Senanayake said that he was appointed as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy in January 2020 and under his chairmanship, the Council had recommended that the government adopt a Green Agriculture policy but the decision-makers had not considered those recommendations and implemented an Organic Agriculture policy instead.
Explaining the difference professor Senanayake said that green agriculture has the potential to rebuild the natural environment by restoring and maintaining soil fertility; reducing soil erosion and inorganic agrochemical pollution; increasing water use efficiency; decreasing deforestation, biodiversity loss and other land use impacts; and significantly reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, organic farming does not allow the use of any chemical fertiliser and pesticides. 

Professor Senanayake said that small extents of arable land could be converted into an organic farm but it is impossible to convert a whole nation to organic agriculture overnight, especially because most of the arable land in the country is more or less dead due to the extensive use of chemical fertilisers. 
The government has admitted its blunder only after the nation’s agricultural sector has been seriously affected.
Professor Senanayake reiterated that if the decision-makers had heeded the recommendations of intellectuals the nation would not be in the present situation.
Professor Gamini Senanayake holds a B.Sc.  (Agriculture) Hon from the University of Peradeniya and a PhD (Plant Science) from Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark and presently is an  Emeritus Professor and Chairman, Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy. 
Professor Senanayake’s  research includes Plant breeding and Sustainable Agriculture

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