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Country expected to produce highest ever paddy output this year

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Minister Aluthgamage addressing the Committee

The total paddy output for 2021 would be five million metric tons and it would be the highest volume of paddy produced in recorded Sri Lankan history, Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage told the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Agriculture recently.

The Maha paddy cultivation of 742,000 acres was expected to bring in a total harvest of over 3.2 million metric tons and the Yala a harvest of 1.8 million metric tons.

“We will change the way we purchase paddy from farmers. We will establish a system where the farmer is paid on the spot. We want to minimise the involvement of middlemen with this,” the Minister said.

Minister Aluthgamage said that farmers produced enough paddy to feed all Sri Lankans but middlemen caused artificial shortages, the Minister said.

“What will happen if the middlemen start doing the same with other crops. We will also provide funds to modernize all agrarian service centres countrywide. We have asked officials to inform of outstanding issues at these centres. Already we have distributed Rs. 4.2 million to centres in the Gampaha district.”

The government is also gearing up to introduce an agricultural insurance scheme. Six crops will be insured free of charge and those who farm other crops can join the scheme by paying Rs. 600 a month, the Minister said.

Minister Aluthgamage added that those who joined the Ministry of Agriculture should receive comprehensive training and that aspect had been ignored in recent years. Proper training of officials was needed to take new technologies to farmers, he said.

The state-owned Colombo Commercial Fertilizers Ltd now produced organic fertilizer and the government would start a comprehensive scheme to encourage farmers to use organic fertilizer, Minister Aluthgamage said.

 

 



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Govt. says selling state assets only way to build reserves and prevent crippling shortages

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday (06) said Sri Lanka wouldn’t be in a position to be part of the international trading system unless it boosted its foreign reserves by selling some of its assets. Gunawardena, who also holds media and transport portfolios said so at yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

Responding to a query about the government’s decision to divest vital national assets, the Minister said that if Sri Lanka did not shore up its reserves to the tune of over three billion dollars, international companies would not accept the letters of credit given by Sri Lankan banks.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister, has proposed privatising of several state enterprises including Sri Lanka Insurance and Sri Lanka Telecom.

“Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga sold a number of state owned enterprises. If we don’t increase our reserves, to over three billion USD soon, we will have problems importing fuel, and other essential items. Last week, Fitch again reduced our rating. No matter who governs Sri Lanka, they will all face the same problem. We need to build our reserves,” the Minister said.

Minister Gunawardane said that the need of the hour was to sell some assets and boost Sri Lanka’s reserves.

“China, India, Vietnam, and Malaysia are attracting a lot of investors. Only we have failed to do so, and we need to think why this is. Even our entrepreneurs are leaving for other countries. We need to change the way we think, if we want to attract investors to Sri Lanka,” he said.

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Ven Siridhamma, Mudalige granted bail; latter re-arrested

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Convenor of Bhikku Balamandalaya affiliated Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera leaving Court yesterday (06) after Kaduwela Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara granted him bail. The Thera was held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for causing damages to public property during a protest opposite the Education Ministry, over three months back. The Magistrate ordered the Thera released after the police failed to identify the monk at an identification parade. However, IUSF Convenor Wasanatha Mudalige, who was also released by the Magistrate, after the police couldn’t identify him, was taken into custody in connection with some other case.

Pics by Kamal Bogoda

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