Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries has stated that the government was able to start paying the highest amount of compensation to the farmers for crop damage caused by drought and floods in the 2023 Yala season in this year within two months of crop damage.
The first phase of the awarding of compensation for crop damage in the 2023 Yala season was held today (19) in the morning at Angunakolapalassa.
Agriculture and Agrarian Insurance Board has decided to spend 389 million rupees from the funds of the board until the government's financial allocations are received for this first phase.
Accordingly, the Minister awarded compensation to 375 farmers who suffered from crop damage in Hambantota district. In providing these compensations, compensation will be given for the crops of paddy, chilies, potatoes, maize, soybeans and big onions. Under that, the damages caused by drought, heavy rains and wild elephants will be taken into consideration.
According to the current surveys, 65,000 acres have been damaged due to drought and 11,000 acres due to rain. Crop damage compensation is provided subject to a maximum of Rs.100,000 per hectare.
According to today's compensation award, 360 million rupees was awarded for 13,451 acres in Hambantota Mahaweli area and 24,98,400 rupees for 89 acres in Chandrikaweva, Kolonna, Panamure, and Thibolketiya agricultural areas.
Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries who expressed his views here –
Our farmers had to face great hardships due to the huge drought that affected in 2023 Yala season and the heavy rains that followed. Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe Hon. President has expressed his agreement to provide some relief to the farmers even though there is an economic crisis in the country.
No action has been taken before to compensate crop damage in a short period of time. Generally, crop damage compensation is paid after about a year. But this time we started the payment of crop damage compensation before the end of two months.
Although the it has not yet received the necessary financial allocations to compensate the crop damage from the government, I advised the Agriculture and Agrarian Insurance Board to start paying the compensation by using the financial allocations of the said board.
We know that providing Rs. 100,000 per hectare for crop damage may not be enough. Even so, this time a huge compensation has to be paid. We assume that this amount may be the highest amount paid for crop damage in history.
Farmers whose crops were damaged are in a difficult situation. They no longer have financial provisions to spend on cultivation. Therefore, we believe that they will get some relief on the prompt payment of these crop damage compensations.
Today we will also start giving 40 liters of fuel free of charge to all farmers who have suffered from crop damage. Of the 6.9 million liters of fuel given to us by the Chinese government, two million liters are left. We decided to give that stock of fuel to the farmers whose crops were damaged.
Officials including Mr. W.M.M.B. Weerasekara, Chairman of Agriculture and Agrarian Insurance Board were participated to this occasion.