The Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage at a meeting held today (06) at the Ministry of Agriculture instructed the Director General of Agriculture, Dr. (Mr.) Ajantha De Silva to expedite the plans for production of potato, onion and chillie locally to meet the consumption requirement of the country within the next three years.
This meeting was attended by Chief Agriculture Specialist Mr. A.L. Siriwardana, Deputy Director of Agriculture Mr. C.K.S.T. Kumara who function as Crop Leaders, Dr. (Mr.) Rohan Gunesekara, Director of the Agriculture Modernization (WB) Project and Mr. Neal de Alwis, Advisor to the Hon. Minister.
‘’Department of Agriculture has paid, more attention on the sale of various types of plants. As a result agriculture in Sri Lanka yet remains in backward position. This trnd has to be changed. His Excellency Gotabhaya Rajapaka’s Policy statement ‘’Saubhagyaye Dekma ‘’ clearly states that locally produced all crops shall be cultivated here. Then it will be posiible to save a large amount of foreign exchange required for importing those crop productions. By obtaining private investers’ support too, the target of producing those crops locally shall be achieved soon’’ the Minister stated.
The country’s annual requirement of dried chillie is 50,000 Metric Tons, potato requirement is 230,000 Metric Tons and onion requirement is 290,000 Metric Tons. At present 500 MT of chillie, 60,000 MT of onion and 80,000 MT of potato are producing locally. However according to new plans it is expected to produce 100% of chillie requirement, 60% of onion requirement and 65% of poteto requirement locally within next three years. The required seeds are being produced at present.
We can’t dilly –dally and further rely on unconfirmed data related to above production. I want a suitable production programme at the end of this month. Names and address of farmers joining this programme, the extents of land to be cultivated in respect of each crop at district Level shall be included in the programme and I expect to get the programme supervised by MPS representing each district.