Minister MahindanandaAluthgamage stated that five Mafias are in operation in the field of agriculture disturbing the forward march of the country towards building a production economy instead of an economy based on importation. Those major Mafias in paddy, rice, seeds, vegetables and fertilizer fields are bent on total distruction of the future of local agriculture.This was revealed by the Minister of Agriculture when he attended training workshop for Agriculture Instructors held at the Paddy Research Institution, Batalegoda.
Islandwide series of training programmes aimed at making officials equipped with required knowledge and technology were commenced yesterday 04/01/2021 at 05 agriculture schools at Batalegida, Angunakolapellessa, Puliyankulama, Mahailluppullama and Bindunuwewa. Under first stage of this programme 250 Agriculture Instructors each are to be trained in one centre totaling thousand covering the island. It has been planned to enrole 600 Agrarian Development Officers and 9000 Agriculture Research and Production Assistants ( Kupanisa Officers) under 02nd stages of this undertaking. The Ministry of Agriculture has taken steps to conduct this training in the from of 25 day residential training for each group.
Training on dry land cultivation, cultivation methods including paddy and fruit cultivations, knowledge on various enactments including Quarantine Act and Pesticide Control Act as well as advance knowledge on digital technology have been included in the training syllabus. The main objective of this progarmme is to educate farmers through Agriculture Instructors, Agrarian Development Officers and “ Kupanisa Officers”.
Expressing his views at this training workshop Minister MahindanandaAluthgamage stated, “Prominent place has been given to agriculture in the Government Policy Statement Vista of Prosperity and Splendor. President’s objective is to build up self-sufficient economy while putting an end to the import economy. 40% of the population in the country are directly involed in agriculture while indirect involvement is 30% both direct and indirect involvement totalling 75% amidst Covid Pandemic situation. That is why it has been made compulsory for the farmers to be equipped with modern technology. Research and technology in the field of agriculture in our country has reached the level of technology and research advancement in England. However majority of local farmers are still practicing traditional agriculture that had been prevailed 100 years agoin their inability to gain access to modern technology. On the other hand due to the lack of proper co-ordination among Key officials attached to Agrarian Services Centre farmers are suffering badly. Agriculture Instructor has no recognition in the AgrarianServices Centre. Agriculture Instructor, Agrarian Development Officers do not work together. As a result transfer of Knowledge to farmer is at the low ebb. Therefore we have already taken remedial measures under effective co-ordination mechanism among the Central Government, Provincial Councils and all the other stake-holders in the sector. What we are doing through this training programme is the same thing. Five Mafias are in operation within the agriculture sector. New Zealand’s second largest boyer of milk powder is Sri Lanka. Those in fertilizer Mafia are receiving a big commission.A large quantity of seed requirement are still being imported while 100% of dry chilli requirement is imported. Whatever food crop it may be, the majority are in favour of importation because of commission they are receiving. Due to the excessive use of Urea blue baby births are being reported from Narochchole. Doctors complain of around 30 blind baby birth per month. Cases of Cancer and Kidney are increasing daily. However importation of chemical fertilizer continues. During the last year 55 laboratory reports have been fraudulently changed through which 105 billion MT of adulterated fertilizer have been imported. Auditor General’s report has revealed these fraudulent practices. I have already sent home 7 such corrupt officials involved in changing those reports. Action has been field against former Chairman of the company. This country has been degenerated to such a level at which people are being killed purposefully by giving them chemical mixed food. fertilizer are issued only upon fertilizer recommendationsfrom this year onwards. Every Agrarian Services Centre will be provided with soil testing kits for this purpose. Accordingly every farmer will be issued a soil testing report in respect of his farming land. In addition knowledge, technology and all the other facilities and provisions within our reach will be provided to them. The Minister concluding his address asked all Agriculture Instructors participating at the workshop to work together as members of the same family by putting away with all desputes and differences be it religions, social or otherwise. Officials of the Ministry including Director General of Agriculture DR. (Mr) W.M.W.Weerakoonattened the inaugural ceremony of the workshop.