Owners to give 06 month period to cultivate
The Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the Department of Agrarian Development to take over 14,000 acres of fallow paddy lands in 08 districts and cultivate them in the year 2023.
Accordingly, it has been decided to take over 14,000 acres of fallow paddy lands including 2,774 acres of paddy fields in Matale, Nuwara-Eliya, Vavuniya, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Badulla and Monaragala districts which have not been cultivated for five years and 11,256 acres of fallow paddy lands selected from the rest of the districts.
In the year 2023, the above mentioned eight districts will become free from fallow paddy lands.
In accordance with the national drive for cultivating fallow paddy lands in every district in the country which is being implemented by the Department of Agrarian Development, all fallow paddy fields located in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kilinochchi, Hambanthota, Ampara, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Batticaloe districts have been cultivated.
At present, a total of 14,000 acres of fallow paddy fields have been identified in the above mentioned eight districts in the year 2023. The government has allocated a sum of Rs. 550 million to cultivate all these paddy lands.
The Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that the owners should be given a period of 06 months to cultivate their lands and if they do not take steps to cultivate them during that period, the government will temporarily take over these paddy lands for cultivation for five years.
The Minister also instructed the Commissioner General of Agrarian Development to take steps to bring amendments to the Agrarian Development Act for the implementation of this project.
In addition to the eight districts that have been cleared of fallow paddy fields, there are 47,471 acres of fallow paddy lands in the remaining 17 districts. The Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera advised that if the owners do not cultivate all these fallow paddy lands, they should be handed over to the government and given to young persons who have no land to cultivate for up to five years.
The Commissioner General of Agrarian Development emphasized that 60 bushels of paddy can be harvested from one acre of paddy and 840,000 bushels of paddy are expected by cultivating in these fallow paddy lands.
The Minister Mahinda Amaraweera expressed his views in this regard –
Under the national drive for cultivating fallow paddy lands in the country, those paddy lands will be taken over by the government and given to young persons who have no land to cultivate and technical and financial assistance will also be provided to them for cultivation. The government approved a sum of Rs.550 million for the proposal submitted by him in respect of this programme, the Minister stated.