Over 100 Agricultural academics attached to the universities of Sri Lanka have vehemently condemned the recent remarks on agriculture by Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya.
They claim that his remarks are misleading and seem to be a consummate politician and is a medical trade union leader – during a recent media release, in which he challenged the Agricultural officers’ knowledge on organic agriculture.
Following is the full statement of academics
We, hereby, vehemently condemn the derogatory and misleading remarks made by Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya – who seems to be a consummate politician and is a medical trade union leader – during a recent media release, in which he challenged the Agricultural officers’ knowledge on organic agriculture. Furthermore, we believe that his conduct is highly unethical, unprofessional, and amounts to crossing someone else’s border to a field in which he is not at all an expert. Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, not only shows and challenges his own understanding of agriculture at this vital point but also dishonors his own professionalism. However, his baseless remarks don’t appear to have had any impact on men and women who are attentively serving in the agricultural sector in the country with a view to making Sri Lanka self-sufficient in food. We wish to question and challenge Dr. Padeniya’s knowledge as to how he can comment on the knowledge of agricultural specialists on organic agriculture as his immature and irresponsible behavior may establish a bad precedent for other professionals as well in the country. Therefore, we take this opportunity to categorically condemn the unfounded claims made by a trade union leader against other reputed professionals in order to obtain cheap popular political mileage. It appears that Dr. Padeniya is unaware of the Green Revolution which occurred in 1950/1960 in the world. During the green revolution, crop/food production was increased significantly by introducing high-yielding crop varieties (HYVs) which replaced the low-yielding traditional varieties. These HYVs, which are grown today across the globe, need chemical fertilizers and pesticides and, otherwise, they do not give the expected yields no matter what measures we take. If we want to stop the use of chemical fertilizers/agrochemicals, we need to have a holistic approach and design an operational model. This cannot be accomplished in a few months/years. We are not surprised to observe that Dr. Padeniya cannot understand simple facts like these as they have no qualification/training whatsoever in Agriculture. The unscientific and sudden ban of chemical fertilizers/pesticides in the country will undoubtedly push the country to a chaotic situation soon where the prices of food will skyrocket and the poor and vulnerable communities would even starve. We, hereby, dispute Dr. Padeniya’s baseless allegations inferring that the recommendations made by the agricultural specialists in state agencies/departments are made with a strong bias towards such companies, because the agricultural specialists get direct benefit from chemical fertilizer and pesticide companies. As we clearly described earlier, the present crop varieties cannot simply grow and give anticipated high yields without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In this backdrop, the remarks of Dr. Padeniya are highly deceiving and can mislead the general public, thereby jeopardizing the dignity and integrity of agricultural specialists. Their apparent motive of gaining cheap fame and personal benefits amounts to low-quality and unprofessional ethical wrongdoing. Further, it is pitiful that Dr. Padeniya is deliberately ignoring and tarnishing the good name of agriculture professionals who have guided the Sri Lankan farming community to nourish this proud nation for centuries in the past. According to his misleading statement at a media briefing, all agricultural teaching and training institutes, agriculture faculties, and research institutes in Sri Lanka are no longer necessary. Dr. Padeniya should better understand the difference between “ග ොවිතැන” and the science behind agriculture before making false statements about reputable professionals in the country. We wish to remind him that, at this critical point, the country’s most vulnerable and pressing worry is not the knowledge of agricultural officers on organic agriculture, but the rising COVID-19 pandemic, in which Dr. Padeniya is also deliberately misleading the wider public and concealing the dire situation in his sector. Therefore, we respectfully suggest that he focuses more on the COVID-19 pandemic, smoking, drug addiction, and the non-communicable disease incidences occurring throughout the country, without making false and unconfirmed references and links to agricultural inputs in relation to cancer, CKDu, etc. We believe that he can act more confidently in his designated profession rather than making derogatory remarks on other reputed professions. Further, we would like to ask and invite Dr. Padeniya to accept full responsibility for the country’s possible future food crisis, which may occur in the near future as a result of assertions of this nature, rather than blaming the agricultural professionals who have helped feed the nation for millennia. Finally, we respectfully suggest that Dr. Padeniya devotes more time on his own profession rather than commenting on the skills and talents of other professions, thereby, causing problems to society and destroying his own credibility.
Signed academics are below
1Prof. KKIU Arunakumara Professor University of Ruhuna 2 Prof. Buddhi Marambe Professor University of Peradeniya 3 Prof. S Subasinghe Professor University of Ruhuna 4 Prof. Barana Jayawardane Professor University of Peradeniya 5 Prof. LM Abeywickrama Professor University of Ruhuna 6 Prof. Wasantha Kumara Professor University of Ruhuna 8 Prof. Rohitha Prashanth Professor University of Peradeniya 9 Prof. RMC Deshapriya Professor University of Peradeniya 10 Prof. KDNWeerasinghe Emeritus Professor University of Ruhuna 11 Prof. Saman Herath Professor Uva Wellassa University 12 Prof. AMWK Senevirathna Professor Uva Wellassa University 13 Prof. EDNS Abeyrathne Professor Uva Wellassa University 14 Prof. DKD Darshaka Jayasena Professor Uva Wellassa University 15 Prof. J.K. Vidanarachchi Professor University of Peradeniya 16 Prof. MHJP Gunarathnaa Professor Rajarata University 17 Prof. AW Wijeratne Professor Sabaragamuwa University 18 Prof. Chandrika Dissanayake Professor Sabaragamuwa University 19 Prof. GY Jayasinghe Professor University of Ruhuna 20 Prof. Nalika Ranathunga Professor University of Ruhuna 21 Prof. GC Samaraweera Professor University of Ruhuna 22 Prof. RT Seresinhe Emeritus Professor University of Ruhuna 23 Prof. Indunil Pathirana Professor University of Ruhuna 24 Prof Mahinda Atapattu Professor University of Ruhuna 25 Prof. BC Walpola Professor University of Ruhuna 26 Prof. Champa Navaratne Professor University of Ruhuna 27 Prof. Dulcy Senaratna Professor University of Ruhuna 28 Prof. NMNK Narayana Professor University of Ruhuna 29 Dr. Nilantha Liyanage Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 30 Mrs. Chintha Rupasinghe Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 31 Dr. Menaka Fernando Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 32 Dr. Chandima Gajaweera Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 33 Dr. Jinendra S Balasuriya Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 34 Dr. K Pakeerathan Senior Lecturer University of Jaffna 35 Prof. Kapila G Prematilake Professor Uva Wellassa University 36 Dr. Anurudda Karunarathna Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 37 Dr. Samantha Dissanayaka Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 38 Dr. Chammi Attanayake Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 39 Dr. Jayampathi Ekanayake Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 40 Dr. Dilini Hemachandra Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 41 Dr. Prasanna Pradeep Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 42 Ms. Sewwandi Chandrasekara Lecturer University of Peradeniya 43 Mrs. Bhagya Prabhashini Lecturer University of Ruhuna 44 Ms. Sadeeka Jayasinghe Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 45 Dr. SLD. Amarathunga Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 46 Ms. MK Ranasinghe Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 47 Ms. Anusha Bulumulla Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 48 Dr. MGPP Mahindarathne Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 49 Mr. Sanjaya Fernando Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 50 Dr. Niluka Nakandala Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 51 Ms. VP Ellepola Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 52 Dr. Ewon Kaliyadasa Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 53 Dr. Kurukulasuriya Senior Lecturer Uva Wellasa University 54 Ms. Achala Alakolanga Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 55 Dr. AD Ampitiyawatta Senior Lecturer Sabaragamuwa University 56 Ms. AM Samaraweera Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 57 Ms. CHM Banagala Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 58 Mr. PP Ruwanpathirana Lecturer University of Ruhuna 59 Ms. KGBA Samarasinghe Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 60 Mrs. MKTK Amarasinghe Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 61 Ms. Chamari Coswatte Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 62 Ms. NM Wijesundara Lecturer Uva Wellassa university 63 Dr. Deshani C Mudannayake Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 64 Ms. JMDR Jayawardana Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 65 Ms. Gayathri Rathnayake Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 66 Dr. SD Rathnayaka Senior Uva Wellassa University Lecturer 67 Dr. Chaminda Egodawatta Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 68 Dr. JBDAP Kumara Senior Lecturer Sabaragamuwa University 69 Dr. Nishani Abesinghe Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 70 Mr. Namal Ranaweera Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 71 Ms. RAAS Rathnayaka Lecturer Rajarata University 72 Dr. Thusitha Amarasekara Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 73 Dr. UGAI Sirisena Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 74 Prof. NY Hirimuthugoda Professor University of Ruhuna 75 Dr. RMH Tharangani Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 76 Mr. Ishara Wijesinghe Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 77 Prof. WAJP Wijesinghe Professor Uva Wellassa University 78 Dr. BVASM Bambaranda Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 79 Dr. C Ranawana Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 80 Dr. NS Abeysingha Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 81 Prof. Anton Perara Professor University of Ruhuna 82 Dr. Thusitha Weerasooriya Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 83 Ms. AMC Amarakoon Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 84 Dr. GD Kapila Kumara Senior Lecturer Sabaragamuwa University 85 Dr. Sumali Dissanayake Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 86 Dr. Chamila Weerakoon Senior University of Ruhuna Lecturer 87 Prof. AL Sandika Professor University of Ruhuna 88 Prof. Achini De Silva Professor Sabaragamuwa University 89 Ms. T Sudini R Fernando Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 90 Dr. DMSH Dissanayaka Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 91 Dr. MAAP Kumari Senior Lecturer Rajarata University 92 Ms. NE Wedamulla Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 93 Dr. M Esham Professor Sabaragamuwa University 94 Dr. MWACS Wijetunga Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 95 Mr. WTL Fonseka Lecturer University of Ruhuna 96 Dr. Dananjali Gamage Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 97 Dr. KNN Silva Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 98 Ms. Madhushika Perera Lecturer University of Ruhuna 99 Dr. Aruni Wickramaratne Senior Lecturer University of Ruhuna 100 Dr. MPM Arachchige Senior Lecturer Uva Wellassa University 101 Prof. HSR Rosairo Professor Sabaragamuwa University 102 Dr. Mojith Ariyarathne Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 103 Dr. Warshi Dandeniya Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya 104 Dr. Saman Athauda Senior Lecturer University of Peradeniya