Three year plan to reduce monies spent on seed imports

Mahindananda Aluthgamage

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said Rs.2000 million is spent annually to import agri seeds to the country and it is planned to reduce it gradually in the next three years and produce around 80% of the country’s required seeds locally.

He added that the import of any seed other than seeds that cannot be produced locally will be suspended within three years.

Speaking to the media in Kandy, Minister Aluthgamage said that due to the non-cooperation of the Agriculture Department, the Agrarian Services Department and the Mahaweli Authority, farmers faced hardships but now all these institutions take decisions together.

“The Ministry has allocated Rs. 3,000 million for agriculture in the Kandy District. There was no database for the Agriculture Ministry so far. We have formulated a National Policy for Agriculture. When the National Identity Card number is entered in the database, we can see all data including the size of his crop, the seeds sown and the time of harvest. Due to the lack of proper coordination, many farmers grow the same type of vegetables. We will take action to prevent such farming practices”he said.

“Transporting stocks of vegetables and fruits by lorries is a huge waste. We plan to transport these by train. Separate train boxes will be made for this purpose.We will establish a small export crop village of 200 acres in each Agrarian area throughout the country. We have taken steps to provide relief to dairy farmers to increase production and cultivate paddy fields.The fertilizer subsidy given only for paddy cultivation will be given to other cultivations as well. We will provide them to farmers through Agrarian Services Centers. We hope to import 10,000 cows under the programme to increase local liquid milk production,” the Minister noted.

(Source: Daily News – By Asela KURULUWANSA, Nihal Jayawardena and Shavini Madhara)