Monday, October 19, 2009

One writes not expecting to see one’s article in print, now the fallout!

The Sunday Leader in the special Kottu section of October 18th published the previous blog entry, with my permission of course, but I for some reason thought it was the earlier article, the comments there from resulted in the published piece.

Either way it was an entry out of personal experience and not empirical evidence as should be appreciated. I would however like to elaborate on some of the issues dealt with in the said piece as this debate is nevertheless important and opportune, and the sooner we tackle this problem of diet holistically, so we bring in the agriculture sector as well as the consumers of their produce on to the same plane.

I would like to add that while the farmers in Polonnaruwa eat white rice, usually parboiled nadu, devoid of nutrients, and full of starch, the Southerners tend to prefer Rathu Kekulu, or red rice of various hues of redness.(note that the level of polishing determines the level of redness and not the type of rice per se) So there are regional disparities in diet. At the same breath I would like to add that the red rice I am referring to is currently selling about 10Rupees a KG below the aforesaid parboiled nadu. So it is a fact that many of the affluent in Colombo eat lower priced rice than their staff, who eat the white parboiled. Of course they do eat out and imported Basmati seems to be dish of choice at restaurants.

My struggle with regard to selling organic vegetables is however something I still grapple with. Most of my completely organic foods are very small in size when compared with the non-organic versions and sometimes have insect and other exterior blemishes. In my very small level of cultivation, without the aid of greenhouses etc, my organic products cost more than twice to produce, but are perceived as inferior products by the consumer, until I spend hours giving a lesson in nutrition. It is impossible for me to win this struggle on my own, as attested by my road to penury as a result of my efforts. These points also should go into the overall education on healthy eating habits.

Needless to say the most embarrassing part of the published extract was about my personal preferences and diet, for the world to read, but then again that’s what blogging is about. Despite my unbelievably poor and irregular eating habits, I have hardly had cause to take as much as a panadol in the past 5 years back in Sri Lanka. I attribute it to just drinking King Coconut water, Fresh Milk from my cows, and the juices from the oranges, limes and lemons I grow. For all intents and purposes they are all organic and see an earlier entry to explain what I mean.


Anonymous said...

Ranjith, I shop at an organic shop every week and all the prices are higher than the normal prices. For instance I pay $2.50 at the supermarket for a kilo of oranges but I pay $4.oo at the organic shop.Same with broccoli and beans.

I am so pleased that you article was in print. One of the normal ones it was. the others were either anti government or about part of the society that has badly gone wrong.

So good work.

Anonymous said...

Ranjit, do you know where Lanka imports its rice from and what is the grade?

I may be resident in a near-by country which produces a rice surplus and maybe could send you some for distribution.

Rajaratarala said...

I believe we have not imported any rice in quantity lately. We have sufficient rice stocks. However premium varieties like Basmati are imported in small qunatities and is subject to duty. In the same vein we export premium rice as well as the red basmati I grew last season (see the perceptions blog) It would be better to look at something else that is relatively freely available in the country you are going to that may have a market here. Investigate the duty on the product and whether it is by weight or price, to determine its chance of suceess..

Rajaratarala said...

i just read an article(oct 29) that said that SL govt will import 50K tonnes of rice to prevent traders from inflating the prices. I dare say the rice will come from a country that gives someone in power something on the side. It will not come from the place with the best quality or best deal or even rice that SL person will eat. That is the sad part of it. So sorry you will not be able to get in on the act as I doubt there will be an independent tender board reviewing it so you have a chance of bidding at a level playing field, and the correct decision taken in the interests of the people taking into account type, quality, price, and age and edibility.
Lets just see what happens!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your efforts to get the message across about eating healthy organic food-so few know that they can have a pharmacy in their backyard-and as you would understand one does not have to own a huge acreage to feed one's family-we grow so much on just 1/4 acre-coconut (2 trees),amabarella,olive,sour sop,sapadilla,custard apple,manioc,batala,kankoong,mukunuenna,gotukola,basil,mint,4 varieties of chillies,karavila,bananas,guavas,comquat,papaws,grapefruit,karapincha,rampe,tib batu,sp[inach,lettuces,red onions,1 mango tree,billing,pomegranate,tomatoes,passion fruit, ugurassa,mulberry,and a huge variety of herbs and gegetables in season-pineapple,-we too pride ourselves on not having to take any medication-we continue to encourage as many people as we can to start growing their own fruit and vegetables-keep up the good work-at least those who are interested in eating healthy can purchase from you.

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