The government intends to re cultivate 11,000 acres of abandoned paddy lands before the end of this year in order to prepare for a potential food crisis, State Minister of Agriculture Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva said.
The State Minister pointed out that the program for harvesting abandoned paddy lands is being implemented through the Department of Agrarian Development, and the government has allocated Rs.420 million for this purpose.
He expressed these views today (03) during a press conference themed ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’ held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC).
State Minister Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, further commented;
The export of rice has been temporarily halted by Pakistan and India in order to deal with a potential future global food crisis. Some nations are also experiencing a rice crisis as a result of India stopping the export of rice.
Therefore, as a country, we must likewise get ready to deal with this calamity. The government cannot improve the country’s agriculture industry alone. Support from everyone is necessary for that. As a result, the government has chosen to replant the nation’s abandoned paddy lands. Under the initial phase, the Department of Agrarian Development is working to cultivate 11,000 acres. The government has allocated 420 million rupees for this purpose.
The agricultural sector is responsible for 7.5% of this nation’s GDP. As an agricultural country; there is an opportunity to raise this contribution to the country’s GDP to a higher value. Developing the agricultural sector is another way to boost the national economy.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given many concessions for the farmers of this country. There are subsidies for fertilizers. The government offers farmers insurance free of charge. As a result, there is some increase in rice production in this country compared to the past. Additionally, necessary steps have been taken to streamline the farmers’ paddy purchasing mechanism.
The annual rice requirement of this country is about 2.4 million metric tons. This year, it is predicted that 2.7 million metric tons of rice will be harvested. As a result, it is feasible to maintain a surplus of 300,000 metric tons of rice.
Furthermore, I do not believe that the nation will experience a food crisis in future. Additionally, the President has issued directives prohibiting the release of rice reserves for beer manufacturing.
The government has focused on enhancing the cultivation of new crops in addition to expanding rice production. The budget declaration from President Ranil Wickremesinghe states that the program to bring contemporary technologies to the agricultural sector has already commenced.
The establishment of agricultural villages for young entrepreneurs is another ongoing initiative with the goal of orienting the youth community in the agricultural sector. Additionally, measures have been taken to allow youth access to government-owned land that is not being used for agriculture.
Also, the work of drafting the National Agriculture Policy with amendments is in the final stage. It will eventually be presented to the Cabinet. Through the National Agriculture Policy, it is possible to do a great deal for the advancement of the agricultural sector in this country.
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