Published on: March 12, 2024

Massive Allocation of Rs. 232 Million for Home Gardening Projects – Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, State Minister of Agriculture

State Minister of Agriculture Mohan Priyadarshana de Silva recently highlighted the significant efforts being made by the Ministry of Agriculture to bolster the nation’s economy. One of the initiatives includes plans to allocate financial support up to a maximum of Rs. 200,000 for Home gardening, areas exceeding 10 perches. This move is aimed at empowering local agricultural activities and enhancing their contribution to economic stability.

During a press briefing themed “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the President Media Centre today (12), State Minister Priyadarshana emphasized the government’s commitment to addressing the on-going economic challenges faced by the country.

Additionally, the State Minister noted that the Department of Agrarian Development has earmarked Rs. 232 million for various agricultural initiatives. He acknowledged the historical challenges faced by the agriculture industry. However, he highlighted a shift in the current landscape, indicating a positive transformation which is underway. With concerted efforts from the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at bolstering the nation’s economy, there’s a noticeable uptick in both economic growth and agricultural productivity. This concerted effort is manifesting in tangible progress, reflecting positively on the overall economic and agricultural landscapes.

Addressing the press briefing the State Minister said,

“Boosting farmers’ yields is crucial in the realm of agriculture. Despite enduring prolonged heavy rains, farmers persevered through challenging conditions. Initial concerns about potential crop damage due to flooding have been mitigated, with expectations now set for a promising harvest of 3.6 million metric tons of rice in the upcoming

Maha season. Considering our nation’s annual rice demand stands at 2.4 million metric tons, this anticipated surplus is indeed a cause for celebration.
Generally, an average yield of 3000-4000 metric tons of paddy per hectare is anticipated. However, in certain provinces, farmers have achieved an impressive yield of 12000 metric tons per hectare, aided by advanced agricultural technologies for harvesting these crops.

Looking ahead, there are warnings of potential drought conditions in the future. Accordingly, there’s a vital emphasis on judicious water usage, especially as plans are underway to cultivate 512,000 hectares during the “Yala” season. It’s imperative to exercise caution and ensure optimal water management practices for these cultivation activities.

Farmers have been encouraged to adopt intermediate crops like Green gram, corn, and potatoes alongside their main crops. This diversification strategy is aimed at enhancing agricultural resilience. Notably, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Development play pivotal roles in facilitating these initiatives and supporting farmers in their agricultural practices.

Moreover, significant progress has been made in introducing numerous new rice varieties. The Batalagoda Rice Research Institute has been particularly successful in spearheading projects aimed at developing and introducing these new rice varieties. The vitality of our nation’s agriculture hinges on institutions like these that continuously innovate and introduce improved crop varieties.

In addition to rice farming, there is a reason for optimism as Agricultural Research and Development Centres have introduced numerous new crop varieties like chilli, okra, pomegranate, and mango. This diverse agricultural portfolio aims to bolster the country’s economy and agricultural resilience. Moreover, in response to the directives of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, provisions have been made to offer financial assistance of up to Rs. 200,000 for gardens exceeding 10 perches. These initiatives are geared towards supporting and incentivizing small-scale gardening activities, further contributing to economic growth and food security.”

In conclusion, the State Minister stated that the Department of Agrarian Development has allocated Rs. 232 million for agricultural development. Recognizing the crucial link between farming activities and our country’s irrigation system, a substantial amount of Rs. 425 million has also been allocated to fortify this infrastructure, including small tanks, ensuring a consistent and reliable water supply for our farmers. These investments signify a concerted effort to support and enhance agricultural sustainability in our nation.

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