National Tree Planting Ceremony which is the last auspicious ritual of the 2023 Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations was held today (20) at Angunakolapelessa Agricultural Service Centre.
Mr.Mahinda Amaraweera, the Minister of Agriculture planted a lime plant at the auspicious time of 6.38 am today, and simultaneously Mr.Gunadasa Samarasinghe, Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. H. M. L. Abeyratne, Commissioner General of Agricultural Services and a group of officials planted fruit trees.
The Ministry of Agriculture had made arrangements to celebrate the auspicious day of planting this year under the theme "Plant a plant that gives fruit".
In addition to planting saplings, the Minister also distributed saplings to the people gathered at the event and the two state-owned fertilizer companies Colombo Commercial Company and Lanka Fertilizer Company distributed the mixed fertilizers required for fruit saplings among the farmers.
The Minister expressed his views on this occasion.
Tree planting auspicious time was included by me to plant trees at the auspicious time of the Sinhala and Tamil New year Festival during the period when I performed duties as the Minister of Environment.
This is the fourth time of planting saplings at the auspicious time.
We have entered into international conventions and agreements to increase the forest cover in Sri Lanka up to 30% of its total land area by the year 2030. Currently, the forest cover in the country is at 29.2%. In order to increase this land extent up to 30%, forest cover should be raised by 0.08%.
At least a land area of 65,000 hectares should be cultivated to extend the forest by 0.08 in the country. It is not an easy task.
Priority should be given to environmental conservation and also for the cultivation of food crop. Therefore, we have taken steps to plant fruit trees as perennial crop at tree planting auspicious time this year.
Four farmers in Ambalantota area have recorded the highest paddy harvest per acre in the country so far during the last Maha Season. Among them, three farmers have recorded a paddy harvest of 11,000 kg per hectare while another farmer has recorded a harvest of 9,000 kg of paddy per hectare.
Accordingly, every farmer should use high quality seed paddy, apply fertilizers on time and use modern technology to obtain a high yield.
The government has also taken necessary steps to increase the reliefs provided to farmers with the aim of enhancing the food crop cultivation in Sri Lanka. We will continue the task of developing the agricultural sector in the country whatever problems and criticisms may arise.