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Environment Minister: Sri Lanka wastes 5000 tonnes of cooked, uncooked food daily



By Ifham Nizam

Sri Lanka wastes nearly 5000 tonnes of cooked and uncooked food daily, says Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

Speaking at a meeting yesterday at the Environment Ministry to mark the International Awareness Day on Food Waste and Food Pollution Reduction, the Minister said according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, about a one third of the world’s food production was wasted, and that amounted to 1.3 billion tonnes a year.

About 40 percent of the crops produced in our country were wasted and about 5000 tonnes of cooked and uncooked food were thrown away daily. It was a huge economic loss to the country, he said.

Minister Amaraweera said worldwide, countries were closely monitoring the food shortages and contributory factors. “Therefore, Sri Lanka has a target of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030,” he said, adding that at present some 820 million people in the world were suffering from hunger.

Worldwide, food waste was estimated at USD 939 billion. There were a number of factors that contributed to food waste. “When we look at our country, food waste is due to improper processing, damage caused by animals, improper harvesting and storage methods,” he said.

Minister Amaraweera also noted that high food consumption in the world as well as in Sri Lanka was also a cause of food waste.

The first recorded famine in the history of Sri Lanka was during the reign of King Walagamba. That famine caused by improper maintenance of canals and irrigation and foreign invasions led to massive food shortages.

“Today, the world as a whole is facing a similar threat. There is also a risk of food shortages, especially due to the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the collapse of the job market and facilities network, rising food prices, the depletion of dollar reserves in poor countries,” he said.

Minister Amaraweera also said that food shortages had also been exacerbated by food-producing countries’s efforts to conserve their food reserves. The number of people suffering due to food shortages worldwide in 2019 was 118 million. But by the end of 2020, that number had risen to 768 million due to the pandemic.

“When we were little our mothers prepared meals sufficient for not only family members but also several others, thinking that there would be unexpected visitors. “If there were no visitors, our mothers processed leftovers. Aggala, a sweetmeat, was made from sundried cooked rice.

“Time has come for us to emulate our parents and grandparents in handling food. Therefore, on this International Food Awareness Day, I suggest that we follow the example of Arapirimasma (thrift) that our culture has taught us.”


is a modern economic science. That is, to manage the resources to the fullest extent possible”.

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Keheliya turns down request for abolishing price control on medicine



Industry leader has sought court intervention

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday (17) said that in spite of difficulties caused by the foreign currency crisis price control on imported medicines couldn’t be done away with.

Abolition of price control on drugs would heap an enormous burden on the vast majority of people, Minister Rambukwella said.

Lawmaker Rambukwella said so when The Island sought his response to the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) requesting the government to do away with price control. Claiming that the grouping imported over 80 percent of medicines into the country, the SLCPI recently warned of possible collapse of the industry unless remedial measures were taken swiftly.

Minister Rambukwella said that recently he met an SLCPI delegation at their request to discuss issues at hand. “Of course, I understand the difficulties experienced by all sectors, including the pharmaceutical trade. However, price control as regards medicine cannot be done away with,” Minister Rambukwella said.

The SLCPI has pointed out to the Minister that at the moment medicines were the only commodity under price control in the local market. The Health Minister asserted that it wouldn’t be fair to compare the medicine with other commodities.

Minister Rambukwella said that regardless of constrains, the government was trying to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicine and it wouldn’t be fair to do at this juncture.

In a statement sent to the media SLCPI asserted: “There is no solution to this dilemma than removing the price control of medicines and implement a fair and equitable pricing mechanism which will link the price of medicines to the dollar, inflation and direct costs such as raw material, fuel and freight charges, which will then make importing and marketing of medicines viable. As difficult as it may sound, the authorities will have to choose between having medicines at a cost and not having medicines at all.”

The SLCPI has already sought the intervention of the courts to establish what the grouping called a transparent pricing mechanism outside government price control.

Recently, Minister Rambukwella, at a meeting also attended by State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana called for a report on the requirement of medicines over the next six months. The Health Ministry declared that there was no shortage of drugs whereas SLCPI claimed some drugs were in short supply and the situation could get worse.

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Central Expressway: Rs 3 mn raked in within 12 hours



Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday that about three million rupees had been earned by way of toll within the first 12 hours of the opening of the second phase of the Central Expressway.

Rs 2,805,100.00 had been paid by the expressway users during the first 12 hours from 12 noon to midnight Sunday (16) after its opening by the President and the Prime Minister on Saturday (15).

The Minister said that during the first 12 hours of the period of toll collection, a total of 13,583 vehicles had traversed the most  scenic road stretch in the country between Mirigama and Kurunegala. No traffic accidents had been reported during the 12 hour period.

Minister Fernando said that the newly opened road had been allowed to be used by the public free of charge for 12 hours from midnight Saturday (15) to Sunday (16) noon.

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President to inaugurate second session of Ninth Parliament today



by Saman Indrajith

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to commence the second session of the Ninth Parliament today at 10 am with his third Presidential policy statement (formerly Throne Speech).

He made his first ‘Throne Speech’ on Jan 3, 2020, opening the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament and the second on Aug 20, 2020 to open the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake said that MPs have been requested to arrive at the parliamentary complex at 9.25 am the latest.

The MPs, if accompanied by their spouses will alight from their vehicles at the Staff Entrance of the parliamentary building, while all other MPs are requested to drive up to the Members’ Entrance.

To facilitate orderly arrival, the MPs are requested that the Car Label provided them with be pasted on the inside top left-hand corner of the windscreen of their vehicles. On arrival at Parliament, Members’ vehicles would be directed by the Police to the appropriate Car Park.

Thereafter the MPs are requested to enter the lobbies of Parliament and to remain there until the Quorum Bells are rung.

President Rajapaksa is scheduled to arrive at the Main Steps of the Parliament Building at 9.40 a.m. and he would be received by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

The President will be escorted by them to the Parliament Building. Thereafter, the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament will escort the President to his Chambers.

At 9.55 a.m. the Quorum Bells will be rung for five minutes and all Members will take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament.

The President’s procession will leave for the Chamber of Parliament and will enter the Chamber at 10.00 am. On entering the Chamber the President’s arrival will be announced whereupon all Members will stand in their places until the President reaches the Chair and requests the Members to be seated.

Thereafter, the Proclamation proroguing the Parliament and Summoning the Meeting of Parliament will be read by the Secretary General of Parliament. Then, the President will address Parliament.

After his policy statement the President will adjourn the House until 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday (19).

Thereafter, the President will leave the Chamber escorted by the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

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