(Discussion held with Mr.Namal Karunarathne, National Organizer for All Island Agrarian Federation)
Minister P.Harrison instructed officials of the Agricultural and Insurance Board to complete the payment of compensation to all farmers who have registered with the Board and paid the insurance Premium.
These instructions were issued by the Minister at a discussion held between Mr.Namal Karunarathne, National Organizer of the All Island Agrarian Federation and farmer representatives at the Auditorium of the Ministry of Rural Economic Affairs.
Accordingly, compensation are due to be paid to 3000 registered farmers in Ampara, Monaragala & Athimalay who suffered cultivation damages. It is expected that approximately a sum of Rs.200 Million is required to meet this commitment. The Minister enquired the reasons for delay of making the payment and instructed the authorities to expedite the task.
The Minister further stated that approval the Cabinet of Minister has already been received for the Cabinet Memorandum submitted by him to pay a sum of Rs.211 Million among 12,995 farmers in Ampara district and a sum of Rs.208 million among 12,254 farmers in Monaragala district under stage II of the payment of compensation for cultivation damages caused by Fall Army Worm.
The Minister has also paid attention to the request made to the Minister by Mr.Wasantha Piyathissa, District Organizer, Ampara of the All Island Agrarian Federation for obtaining compensation to farmers in the Left Bank Colony of the Senanayaka Scheme, Ampara who suffered cultivation losses caused by plant hopper.
Accordingly, the Minister promised to the farmers’ representatives to submit a Cabinet Memorandum soon proposing the payment of compensation to 15,000 affected farmers.
At the discussion the farmers’ representatives have also explained to the Minister difficulties faced by farmers producing bean seed in Mandaram Nuwara area.
The Dept. of Agriculture purchases bean seed at Rs.1200 per 1kg while the private sector’s purchasing price is Rs.500 and they are earning massive profit by selling the same at Rs. 1800. The representatives pointed out to the Minister the injustice of this practice.
The minister instructed the Director General of Agriculture to formulate a suitable methodology to identify actual seed requirement of the country and offer a reasonable price for seed producers.
Mr.Namal Karunarathna thanked the Minister for taking action to increase the compensation payment from Rs.10,000 upto 40,000 and for taking steps to resolve the problems faced by Local Eggs Producers.
This discussion was also attended by Mr.Sumith Warnakulasuriya, Chairman of the Agricultural Insurance Board, its Director General Mr.Panduka Weerasingha, Mrs.Shantha Wijerathna, State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Director General of the Dept. of Agriculture and a number of farmers’ representatives.