Monkeys, a threat to crops - former President Sirisena | Daily News

Monkeys, a threat to crops - former President Sirisena

Participating in the debate on the Government’s Policy Statement, former President Maithripala Sirisena said that farmers were confronted with a serious problem where their crops were being destroyed by animals, particularly monkeys.

Sirisena said that the monkey population in the country has increased phenomenally and has become a serious problem in the country.

“When I was the Agriculture Minister there were around one million monkeys in Sri Lanka. However, today the number has increased to over two million monkeys,” Sirisena said adding that the increased monkey population has become a threat as they destroy the crops and plants. He noted that the growing monkey population in the country is not harmed due to religious reasons as Sri Lanka is a Buddhist Country.

“Moreover, the animal rights groups would be up in arms if a decision was taken to destroy these monkeys despite these animals posing a threat to farmers’ crops. Sri Lanka is the only country where such animals are protected despite them causing such grave damage to crops.”

He said that coconut cultivations were the most affected by the monkeys. According to Sirisena, monkeys destroy an entire coconut tree by trying to pluck just one nut.

“Suppose a single monkey destroys the harvest of a single tree to pluck one coconut, we would have to forego the harvest of around 1.5 million trees. This would result in shortage of coconuts,” he said.

In response to Sirisena’s claims that monkeys are destroying coconut trees, SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that Sirisena’s assumptions were far from the truth.

“It is wrong to assume that monkeys have nothing else to do but to engage in a campaign to destroy coconut trees. According to him, monkeys eat only coconuts and thus are destroying all the coconut trees. That is far from the truth. Monkeys destroy other crops too. It is ironic that he chooses to disregard all other burning issues in this country and is fixated only on monkeys,” Field Marshal Fonseka said.