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JICA partners with UNDP to procure 200 MT maize seeds for Maha season

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JICA recognizes immediate Maize requirement for the fast-approaching season

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in Sri Lanka, will procure a significant portion of maize seed requirements in Sri Lanka, targeting the Maha cultivation season, To address the immediate needs of the ongoing socio-economic crisis in Sri Lanka.

JICA has said maize is a staple input in the livestock feed industry and maize-based food items, such as Thriposha and Samaposha, and the demand for seeds, has swelled over recent years.

Sri Lanka is expected to face over a 60 percent drop in crop production, this Yala cultivation season, which will decline farmers’ income to half, creating a cascading effect during the next Maha cultivation season, growing the current socio-economic crisis to its worse end. However, due to shortages related to the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka, only approximately 50% of the seed requirement is readily available in the country to supplement cultivation in the Maha season. JICA recognized the immediate need to import seeds and achieve the balance requirement for the soon approaching season.

The agreement was signed yesterday with Yamada Tetsuya, the chief representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office and Malin Herwig, Officer-in-Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka, in the presence of Agriculture Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera, with the participation of wider representatives from the partner organizations.

Highlighting the role of JICA in contributing towards food security needs, Tetsuya said: “Currently, the supply chain of livestock and food production is affected by shortage of the maize seeds, affecting the availability and affordability of some essential food items, and giving rise to nutritional concerns for the population, which we hope to resolve through the JICA’s collaborative assistance with UNDP.”

JICA and UNDP will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to procure and supply approximately 200MT (200,000 KG) of maize seeds to farmer organizations in the dry zone districts of Sri Lanka.

Commenting on the role of UNDP in bringing together stakeholders and facilitating such processes in times of need, UNDP Officer-in Charge Herwig said: “UNDP brings together stakeholders at a critical time to provide support with speed and transparency. Through procurement efforts such as this, the need of the hour can be addressed ahead of the season to reduce risk for food insecurity. We look forward to working closely with JICA counterparts in the timely supply of Maize to farmers in the Dry Zone.”



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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs

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A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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