Putting democracy at the heart of food production in Sri Lanka

21 September 2016 - 4:00pm

In Sri Lanka, War on Want’s partner, The Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), is supporting farmers to rebuild their lives and livelihoods, following decades of war and conflict.

Small-scale farming is the main source of livelihood for Sri Lankans. There are more than 3.2 million small farms and home gardens in Sri Lanka, accounting for more than 80% of all agricultural land.

Yet, since the end of the bloody and bitter civil war, the government has seized much land under the guise of economic development and security.

Access to land is vital, and it is why War on Want’s partner, MONLAR, is campaigning for agricultural and land policies that put small-scale farmers first. MONLAR is also promoting sustainable, safe farming practices, such as the use of organic fertilisers, while at the same time raising awareness about the severe detrimental health impacts of some chemical pesticides.

Many farmers have only ever used chemical fertilisers and pesticides. These are harmful to health, damage the environment and deplete the soil.

MONLAR is introducing farmers to new techniques, such as mixed-cropping (planting two or more plants simultaneously in the same field), composting and seed cultivation – all of which are sustainable, inexpensive and promote self-reliance.

This work has helped farmers and their families access a variety of nutritious foods. Any surplus produce is then sold at local markets and provides households with much needed money for education and health care.

War on Want, in partnership with farmers’ movements such as MONLAR, has long called for a food system based on sustainable small-scale farming methods, not corporate control.

Across the world a handful of multinational corporations dominate the food production market at the expense of small-scale farmers and communities. Appropriating land from local communities to produce food on an industrial scale, these multinational corporations profit hugely from promoting damaging agricultural practices through harmful pesticide use and genetically engineered seeds.

It’s time farmers had ownership and control over the land they work. Democracy should be at the heart of food production. This is why War on Want supports the international call for food sovereignty.

Find out more: waronwant.org/food-sovereignty

Latest news

Comment: Supreme Court must find for worker's rights in gig economy case

20 February 2018 - 11:30am

Speaking ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the ‘Pimlico Plumbers’ Gig Economy Case, Owen Espley Labour Rights campaigner at War on Want said:

“The supreme court case must confirm what many courts have already decided, that claiming these workers were self-employed is a ploy to dodge taxes and deny worker’s rights, such as holiday and sick pay.

Read more

War on Want's commitment to safeguarding and code of conduct

16 February 2018 - 10:30am

The recent reports regarding the conduct of staff working for international humanitarian and development charities focussing on Oxfam, is a crucial reminder of the importance that charities should place on ensuring effective policies and practices in safeguarding, including commitments to recognise and uphold the dignity of local communities that the sector works with.

Read more

Join the conversation

"Many people remember apartheid as a dark chapter in the history of #SouthAfrica and the world. But for the Palesti… https://t.co/JEjoWfpEsh 2 hours 53 min ago
“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” – #MalcolmX https://t.co/n584lGhIV0 3 hours 17 min ago
What is #apartheid, and how does that word describe #Israel’s regime of control over Palestinians? War on Want's… https://t.co/xc5BbzVk3X 4 hours 17 min ago