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Planters come forward to help double coconut production to 6 billion nuts per year

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With the soaring price of coconuts, the focus is now on doubling production from three billion to six billion per year.

A master plan in this regard has been developed by a world-renowned management consultancy company, which has branch offices in 140 countries, together with a team of 30 experts from different professional disciplines on the initiative of the government.

A Chartered Human Resources professional cum planter leading the team says the key attraction of the project is the per capita earning potential of smallholders. An average unit of cultivation is around five acres or two hectares.

The project will undertake the development of 50,000 hectares under the first phase with the aim of adding 750 million nuts to existing production. There are few different models for the farmer to select but all models have considered profit per hectare per annum through inter-cropping, bee keeping and fertigation using Israeli technology.

High-tech agricultural concepts have been used to increase farmer efficiency and to attract millennials to agriculture. The project is expected to go green with the support of renewable energy.

Considering the importance of accurate monitoring, the team is considering the use of satellite and drone technologies. A ‘one stop’ mobile app is to be developed so that all services required by the farmers or any of the stakeholders can be accessed without hassle.

The project is looking at developing a total extent of around 187,000 hectares ideally suitable for producing a minimum of 100 nuts per palm each year. Neglected paddy lands of about 50,000 hectares and another 87,000 hectares from the beach-front of the north are also earmarked for inclusion under the final phase of the project.

The entire production will be sent to five state-of-the-art (industry 4.0) coconut factories to add value for export to earn valuable foreign exchange for the country. The products will use Sri Lankan quality assurance mechanisms under the ‘made in Sri Lanka’ brand theme.

The PPP model used will give endless opportunities to those eager to invest in the project and all employees of the Plantations Ministry, CRI, CCB and CDA could become partners of progress of this nation-building initiative.

However, the bottleneck is in the production of quality coconut palms as the project may need about 40 million plants and lands between Sabaragamuwa and Jaffna, the planter says.

The Coconut Growers’ Association is keen to begin discussions on the proposed project early. Planters are motivated by the action-oriented leadership of the President and all state officials are offering unconditional support to get off the grounds this gigantic intervention.

The planter further said that all human resources professionals produced by CIPM await an invitation by the President and the government to get involved in nation-building opportunities. Unfortunately, not considering HRM aspects remain a major cause for drawbacks in the success of projects in Sri Lanka. This must be corrected from Parliament downwards as Right People Drive Business.

 

– Lalin I. De Silva,

Former Senior Planter and

Agricultural Adviser.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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