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KOICA donates equipment to upgrade National Plant Quarantine Service Headquarters

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Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Sri Lanka Santhush Woonjin Jeong, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Kang Youn Hwa, Country Director of KOICA and other officials durign the ceremony at the National Plant Quarantine Service Headquarters at Katunayake

KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) handed over laboratory equipment to Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage for the use at the National Plant Quarantine Service Headquarters at Katunayake.

The equipment was handed over to the Minister as a part of KOICA funded project Modernisation of National Plant Quarantine Service in Sri Lanka worth 6 Million USD with the objective of enhancing the export competitiveness of Lankan agricultural products by improving plant quarantine capacity, a press release issued by the KOICA said.

Santhush Woonjin Jeong Ambassador of the Republic of Korea said: Agriculture is a main sector for development cooperation between our two countries. The Korean government has assisted Sri Lanka by sharing knowledge, providing financial and technical support.” He added: “I hope that this Plant Quarantine Laboratory Equipment will be utilised to the maximum to increase agricultural exports, leading to the economic growth of Sri Lanka.”

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of Agriculture, highly appreciated the support of laboratory equipment by extending his sincere gratitude to KOICA Sri Lanka and the government of Korea for the continuous support.

In Sri Lanka, agricultural exports hold a significant portion of total exports and it is expected that agricultural exports will play an important role in economic development of Sri Lanka.

In order to expand exports of agricultural products, the plant quarantine system must comply with the importing countries’ quarantine conditions. Hence, it is necessary to establish an advanced plant quarantine system required by the export target country. As a step forward, KOICA has decided to join hands in strengthening and modernising the Plant Quarantine Service in Sri Lanka.

The main output of this project includes construction of Seaport Plant Quarantine Station, provision of latest laboratory and ICT equipment, capacity building of the agricultural sector, providing a latest Plant Quarantine Information Management System, and enhancing the Standard of Procedures and upgrading the Sri Lanka Good Agricultural Practice (SL-GAP).

Moreover, for the successful completion of this project, Ambassador Jeong encouraged the Sri Lankan Government to provide continuous dynamic support and cooperation to make this project a massive success.

Among those present were Kang Youn Hwa, Country Director of KOICA, Senior Professor Uditha K. Jayasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. W.M.W. Weerakoon, Director General of the Department of Agriculture, and Dr. W.A.R.T. Wickramarachchi, Head of the NPQS.

KOICA contributes to the advancement of international cooperation through various projects that build friendly and collaborative relationships and mutual exchanges between Korea and developing countries and support the economic and social development in developing countries, under the mission of ‘Leave no one behind with People centered Peace and Prosperity.’



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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