World Food Day - Caravan 2014

With World Food Day 2014 in view the Movement on National Land and Agricultural Reforms (MONLAR) organized an activity to make public, especially agricultural community, knowledgeable about the ruinous consequences of Draft Seeds and Planting Materials Act (popularly known as Seed Act). Activists concerned about the well being and rights of the farming community are against this due to obvious reasons such as the uprooting of farmers’ right to produce seeds in the traditional methods, allowing two or three multi-national companies to produce seeds and so forth.  The keenness of the government of Sri Lanka to pass this in the Parliament is easily interpretable as a plot between some unscrupulous politicians and multinational companies. If this is enacted farmers are compelled to buy seeds from the multinationals at exorbitant prices every growing season because harvest of modified seeds cannot produce seeds useable in subsequent seasons. Current experience has proven that the power of germination of seeds supplied by the companies is limited only to one season. In addition, the produce from these seeds would be high in price and could affect the consumers’ health in various ways. Moreover this is disastrous for the food sovereignity and food security of the country.
This activity was started from Murukandi temple in Kilinochchi on 11th October 2014 and continued until 16thOctober  in Colombo where a large protest was held in front of the Fort Railway Station with the participation of people from all the districts.   Savisthri participation and cntribution included members of  the districts of Anuradhapura, Matale, Monaragla and Matara joining the campaign at several points along its way in the protest on 16.10.2014. On October 12th Matale communities joined the Caravan at Matale town. On 13th, the members of the Anuradhapura Savisthri Women’s Collective and the Youth Society greeted the Caravan at Hiripitiyagama. Youths had erected an attractive pandol using various seeds which was quite innovative. They also had arranged to provide lunch and refreshments to all who came with the procession and who joined the activity from Anuadhapura. 
At Matara, the members proceeded to Hambantota and joined the caravan to travel back to Matara. On the way, they had distributed pamphlets to raise awareness of the public during stopovers at Hambantota, Ambalantota, Ranna, Tangalla, Dikwella and Matara. Over 5000 pamphlets had been distributed. Therein, people in Ranna and Ambalantota were more interested because cultivation is the livelihood of the majority in these areas.

Through the distribution of pamphlets farmers, fishers including women had been given an awareness regarding the conditions Stipulated in the draft seed bill and the unfavourable impacts exerted. Masses in Ranna and Ambalantota took a very keen interest in this and even expressed their views against the draft bill. This activity gave an opportunity to instill in the masses the importance of protecting their seeds, the system of conducting the exchange of seeds and to exert impacts on the people to open some more home gardens utilizing their own seeds.
Mention must be made that the community in the Matara, Monaragala, and the Anuradhapura Districts bore all the expences relating to the organization of the activity, provision of meals and Tavelling.
Monaragala members joined the activity at Monaragala town. They too distributed pamphlets. In all these places presence of Savisthri as an organization concerned about food sovereignity and food security  was conspicuous.