Sri Lanka to launch programme to boost local agriculture production
The government of Sri Lanka is reportedly pushing a new programme to boost local production of 16 agriculture products within the next four years in order to step up food import substitution.
These agriculture products include paddy, chili, potato, big onion, red onion, corn, black gram, green gram, cowpea, soya, sesame, finger millet and peanut.
The move is aimed at transforming from an import oriented to a self-sufficient, export-oriented economy, the Daily FT has reported.
“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa intends to strengthen agriculture production in the country, where all of these products could have been cultivated in the country according to his policy statement ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’. The government will extend support to provide good seed and planting materials as well as to promote and popularize organic agriculture during the next 10 years,” Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has told the media.
Citing 2019 import data, the Minister has reportedly said the government has spent Rs. 210 billion to import potato, dried chili, big onion, red onion, corn, milk powder and seeds. According to him, the new programme will help to boost agriculture production, whilst significantly contributing to the national economy.
The Ministry has allocated Rs. 279.5 billion for the cultivation of potato, big onions, chili, red onion and corn this year. In addition, lands have been identified on a District basis to cultivate; 7,000 acres for potato, 8,000 acres for big onion, 6,000 acres for red onion and 148,000 for corn.
Aluthgamage has also said the Ministry hoped to establish a land bank by collecting all government lands belonging to various institutions to be able to make use of them. “There are so many lands that are underutilised by many institutions even under my Ministry. We hope to provide these lands to private sector investors for cultivation purposes,” he has added.
Highlighting there is great potential and demand for fruit exports, Aluthgamage has been quoted as saying that the Ministry is keen to collaborate with Fruit Research and Development Centre, Horana to improve exports.
Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector is an industry that is currently facing constant expansion. The government of Sri Lanka with its ambitious targets of increasing food production in the country for local requirements as well as to the export market, has provided many business/investment opportunities in the country’s agriculture sector. Foreign ventures could therefore explore business opportunities in providing equipment, technical expertise, seeds as well as fertiliser to Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector.
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