Published on: October 5, 2023

Island-wide initiative to conserve foreign exchange on grain imports – State Minister Kader Mastan

State Minister of Rural Economy Mr. Kader Mastan has announced the initiation of a comprehensive program aimed at reducing the government’s expenditure on grain imports by providing seeds and market opportunities to rural cultivators across the country.

This program, initially launched in the Mannar district, is poised for nationwide expansion in the future. Minister of State Kader Mastan shared these insights during a press conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (05), focusing on the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.

Minister of State Kader Mastan further elaborated:

Various initiatives have been undertaken, guided by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, to address the economic challenges facing the nation. These programs have contributed to the steady progress of the country, and owe the gratitude to the President for his leadership and vision. It is imperative to extend the full support to the projects that the President is spearheading.

In alignment with this commitment, the State Ministry is actively implementing a range of programs to bolster the rural economy, with a special focus on enhancing the livelihoods of rural communities. It has taken significant steps to provide essential seeds to rural cultivators and facilitate market access for their produce.

“For instance, we have already procured approximately 950 metric tons of green beans from the Mannar district alone through this initiative, contributing to substantial foreign exchange savings on grain imports. We have implemented numerous programs designed to promote agriculture and increase the participation of rural populations in the country’s economic development”.

“Our goal is to expand this program nationwide. Additionally, we are providing vital support for the establishment of goat farms, with the aim of transforming small-scale rural goat breeders into successful owners of large-scale goat farming enterprises within a span of 3-4 years”.

Moreover, through the ‘Hada Bima’ authority, it has facilitating the distribution of seedlings and chicks to rural residents engaged in agriculture and poultry management, respectively. The Ministry is also actively involved in the establishment of youth farming villages in various regions, fostering economic self-sufficiency at the village level. Efforts are underway to establish economic centres in different provinces across the island, with a focus on expediting the opening of completed centres.

President Wickremesinghe has also allocated funds for the renovation of lakes and canals in rural areas that support agricultural activities, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to safeguarding the interests of farmers and enhancing their livelihoods, even amid the economic challenges the nation faces.

Additionally, this year, the ‘National Milad Festival’ is being held in Mannar district, accompanied by various development projects that will benefit the entire community.


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