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Biological Energy for Rice-Farming : Lessons from Sri Lankan Farming History

Today in Sri Lanka communities and farmers are grappling with rising costs of living and diminishing supply of fossil fuels as well as chemical fertilizers. From the perspective of Organic Agriculture [ https://island.lk/what-is-organic-agriculture-and-why-is-it-important/ ] it is an opportunity for us to compare the relative costs of over 50 years of fossil subsidized 'inorganic agriculture' against the traditional 'co-evolved' food system that provided nourishment to people and the landscape over millennia.


Dr. Ranil Senanayake provides an analogy of the 1st seral stage of forest regeneration to anthropogenic agricultural pastures, assessing the opportunity cost of tractorization of traditional Sri Lankan rice Agriculture .

Table excerpt from : The ecological, Energetic and Agronomic Systems of Ancient Sri Lanka by Ranil Senanayake (1980)

The context of this discourse, is represented in a simple slide format where it is demonstrated that the loss of the buffalo means the loss of nutrient to the farm and the farmers family, as well as increased the cost of living required for basic amenities such as material to build traditional dwellings. Apart from the quantified energetic and utilitarian losses, there is also a huge loss to habitat and biodiversity wrought by the tractorization of traditional Sri Lankan rice farming.


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