Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage
vThe Director General of Agriculture and other officials visited the farm lands and inspected them
vThe NGV virus is being given by field officers
v5% of spread of Sena caterpillars in Ampara, Kurunegala, Moneragala and Anuradhapura districts
vDamaged farm lands will be assessed and paid mandatory compensation
The Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage states that all measures have been taken to prevent the damage caused by the Sena caterpillar to maize cultivation in the Maha season which has already commenced. During a discussion held at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Minister stated that the Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Dr. W.M.W. Weerakoon and other relevant officials have been visiting the farms since last week to look into the matter. It has been recorded that Ampara, Moneragala, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts are heavily affected. Steps have already been taken in order to distribute the 'NGV virus' used to control it, to farmers through field officers. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage further stated that the field officers in the relevant areas have been instructed to carry out the assessment of the cultivated lands damaged by the Sena caterpillar rapidly, practically and fairly. The Minister said that Rs. 6 million has been provided to every Provincial Council to control the Sena caterpillar and that all necessary measures have already been taken to protect the farmers from this menace. The Minister of Agriculture also promised that all payments of compensation for the damaged crops will definitely be made to the farmers after a correct assessment.
The Minister further stated that a new scheme has already been introduced through the Agriculture Insurance Board to provide compensation to all farmers at the end of the cultivation season, within a month after the assessment. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage states that the government has already taken proper steps to revive the farmers' pension scheme which had been suspended and bring justice to them. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage also requests the public to inform the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agriculture Insurance Board as well as himself of the problems faced by farmers regarding the payment of compensation and assessment issues. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage further stated that there three, four months or even more delays have occurred in paying farmers' compensation and that a new system which brings all compensations to the hands of farmers will be implemented by the Agriculture Insurance Board and relevant field officers within a month from 2021.