Minister P.Harrison addressing the gathering on the occasion of opening 561st Agrarian Services Centre, Bulnewa, Anuradhapura stated that arrangements would be made to introduce an agricultural policy suited to the country by obtaining view of all state officials as well as both government and opposition party politicians.
A foundation stone for this ASC was laid on October 2013 at Kalankuttiya, Bulnewa, Anuradhapura and it had taken 5 years’ time to complete construction. The Minister said that it was possible to complete it even by now due to his mediation.
The opening up of this Centre means the fulfillment of a long-felt need of the farmer community living in Kalankuttiya. The construction cost amounted Rs.8.0 million.
Addressing the ceremony, the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development Irrigation and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development K.D.S. Ruwanchandra stated; “We are trying deliver a good service to the farmer community in the area through this Agrarian Services Centre constructed spending a vast amount of public fund, and the public officers are now in a position to render an efficient service to you. In fact this investment is for you whose contribution is valued by the people of this country. We find many a problem associated with the Agriculture sector such as post harvest losses and less productivity. On the other hand, there are problems related to prices of agri products, which mean price fluctuation. During the harvesting season prices go down while during offseason prices going up in rates even unaffordable to consumers. Similarly modern technology has to be applied in Agriculture. All in all we are trying our best to enhance the value of agro products through quality improvement.
At present, the country is fortunate enough to implement three foreign funded projects namely Agriculture Sector Modernization Project, Climate Smart Irrigated Agriculture Project and IFAD funded Agriculture project through which it would be possible to find solutions for the above - mentioned issues and obtain income higher than what they are receiving today.
Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister P. Harrison addressing the gathering stated,
“With the opening up of Bulnewa Agrarian Service Centre today farmers could obtain numerous services through it. Arrangements are also being made to construct a fertilizer warehouse as well as a ‘Helabojun’ sale outlet adjacent to this.”
“A permanent Agriculture Policy has to be formulated with the participation of all stake holders - institutions functioning under the Central Government and the Provincial Governments including District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries. Let’s take Onion cultivation for an example, Onion is grown in Galnewa. The same is cultivated in Dambulla, too.03-04 years ago 8000 hectares of Onion had been cultivated and it has now been diminished up to 1000 hectares which means 03 -04 years ago we have produced ¼ of the our Onion requirement. Now it seems that farmers are keeping away from cultivation. I still remember those days about 10 years ago the manner in which farmers were drying chillie on either side of the road as if having spreaded a red a red carpet.
However as we are changing our agricultural policies from time to time – from cultivation season to cultivation season farmers have no faith in them and they are keeping away from cultivation in view of the cultivation losses resulting in low income. The truth is that when potato when harvest is reaping authorities import potato. Likewise during the period of Onion harvesting they import Onion. As a result prices of those crops goes down to the extend unbearable by farmers. Then they have no choice but to keep away from farming. We have several crops that can be cultivated locally which are still being imported. Therefore we all involved in agriculture are duty bound towards doing away with such irregular policies and adopt a new Policy acceptable to all .In this National endeavor we expect to obtain view and ideas of Ministers, Departments, State Officials as well as politicians both in the ruling party and in the opposition. It is suitable for each farmer group to encourage undertaking cultivation of particular crop by facilitating to sell their harvest to selected buying group . Impartation is allowed if the local production is insufficient. This make applicable to crops such as potato, Onion, Green gram and Cowpea. Otherwise both party, myself as the Minister in charge of the subject and yourself being public official have to repent for our failure on our part in our responsibility towards future generation. Therefore it is our duty to formulate a new agricultural policy acceptable to all by managing issued such as shortage of land and water resources, The Minister said The Secretary , Ministry of Agriculture Mr.K.D.S.Ruwanchandra, Director General Agrarian Development Mr.W.M.M.b Weerasekara, politicians of the area and public officials were also attended the Ceremony.