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Asian Development Bank to help develop smart agriculture in Mahaweli Zones

Asian Development Bank to help develop smart agriculture in Mahaweli Zones

Daily FT: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to assist develop smart agriculture in Mahaweli Zones, following a request made by Irrigation, Wildlife and Forestry Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.
She said the ADB has pledged to provide $ 8 million to introduce modern technology in the field of agriculture and livestock.
During a recent discussion with the ADB Country Director Takafumi Kadona officials held at her office, Minister Wanniarachchi requested ADB to assist financial and new technology to the youth as they are keen on a smart agricultural industry.
Subsequently, ADB pledged to assist in this venture as it would increase productivity.
Addressing the top officials at the Ministry recently she said the ADB aid is a victory for the Mahaweli farming community.
She said the aim of President Ranil Wickremesinghe is to meet local demand for food in the country in the face of the prevailing economic difficulties. Therefore, modernisation of agriculture would help increase food production in the country.
The Minister pointed out that Mahaweli young farmers prefer to engage in smart agriculture and by facilitating them in that regard, their income can be increased by 200%.
She further said that she would implement a targeted program to export the Mahaweli produce and earn foreign currency in the future.
Ministry Secretary Saman Darshana Pandikorala, Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority Director General Engineer Sunil Perera and several others participated.
The $ 4, 2.5, and 1.5 million would be spent on developing milk production, smart agriculture food production such as polytunnel and drip Irrigation, and poultry and freshwater fishing industry respectively.
There are 12940 milk farmers in Mahaweli Zones and they produced 54.8 million litres of fresh milk last year. It is expected to increase this up to 70 million litres under this programme.
Under the proposed export agri project, 1300 farming families will be selected, and each family will be asked to start chili cultivation in polytunnels of 1/4 acre. Necessary infrastructure will be provided.
Further, the Mahaweli Authority states that the egg production is expected to be increased to 100 million this year from 62 million last year. Shortage of Poultry food and chicks is a major stumbling block in the industry, and the ministry expects to find positive answers to them by using ADB.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka’s agriculture industry has become a hotspot for business/investment opportunities in the country. The increasing economic activities in the country have resulted in the overall expansion in the agriculture industry. The two key segments of the country’s agriculture industry that are on the expansion path are food crop cultivation and export crop cultivation. Both these segments are currently on a growth path and are in need of new technological and technical expertise to be on par with the evolving international practices. Sri Lankan authorities are also promoting the country’s agriculture industry as an area for foreign investments and had thus far managed to attract a considerable number of foreign businesses/investors as well. Most projects in the agriculture industry have also received funding from multilateral donor agencies, which have also presented new business/investment opportunities. Given the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka’s agriculture industry and the need for upliftment, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in the industry.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20240226/Z_7

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