September 19, 2023

Plans to create a dollar account to boost the agricultural sector

The Ministry of Agriculture is ready to establish a dollar account for the development of the agricultural sector on the food security of Sri Lanka.

Chairman of the Presidential Committee on National Food Security, Dr Suren Batagoda, said that if Sri Lanka’s food security is not established, the population will face major nutritional deficiency next year.

A discussion was held yesterday (29) at the Department of Wildlife and Forest Conservation under the patronage of Minister Mahinda Amaraweera on the work to be done by the Department of Agriculture on food security.

Dr. Batagoda, Ministry Secretaries Rohana Pushpakumara and Ms. Chandra Herath as well as Moneragala and Hambantota District Secretariat and a group of officials participated in the discussion.

The Minister of Agriculture highlighted here the breakdowns that have occurred in our country’s dairy, egg and poultry products. At present, liquid milk production has decreased by 19.8%, chicken meat production by 12.1% and egg production by 34.9%. If this situation continues, there is a risk of a complete collapse in poultry and egg production next year.

It has been pointed out here that the livestock industry has collapsed due to the lack of corn and other products necessary for the production of animal feed, as well as the shortage of chemical fertilizers and fuel. .

To avoid this situation, there is a need of 900 million US dollars for future agriculture activities. Dr. Batagoda proposed to focus on starting a dollar account for the future development of agriculture because it is difficult to obtain such an amount immediately from the national treasury.

He pointed out that Sri Lankans working in foreign countries, international organizations and other aid groups can arrange to get the amount from this account.

Accordingly, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the Ministry Secretary to prepare a Cabinet Memorandum to maintain a dollar account with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Apart from this, it was suggested to start a program of supplying urea fertilizer for maize grown this year as well as supplying seeds and urea fertilizer needed to grow maize on more of land next season. Accordingly, the minister mentioned that 25,000 hectares of Moneragala, 5,000 acres of Maduru Oya, 500 acres of Kantale and 3,000 acres of Kandakadu farm are to be cultivated.

The minister also mentioned that President Ranil Wickramasinghe said that this measure is taken to supplement the protein needs of the people of our country and that the government will take all possible measures to ensure food security. The President expressed his agreement to give the government priority to food production in the coming period.

Dr. Batagoda also said that to re-achieve the success achieved in the Sri Lankan agricultural industry in 2018, these reforms would need to be implemented again.