“The country is in need of 0.8 Million Metric Tons of rice to prevent the shortage of rice.In the event of failure of this Yala season like previous Maha season we may have to face an acute shortage of rice” Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera states.
“I am well aware of the fact that assuming duties as the Minister of Agriculture again is a big challenge for me at a time the agriculture sector of the country is facing many a challenge.” The Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation pointed out that the present circumstances clearly indicate that the people of this country have to experience acute food shortage due to failure of the last Maha season and the Yala season being not commenced so far.
These views were expressed by the Minister when assuming duties as Minister of Agriculture, Govijana Mandiraya, Battaramulla in the afternoon today (23) Addressing the Media the Minister further stated,
“Although previous Ministers of Agriculture repeatedly stated that they would not allow any room for the people to experience any rice or food shortage.I, in my capacity as the then Minister of Environment predicted the possible food shortage this year.As a countryman visiting remote backward areas every weekend, I am well aware of the farmers suffering due to shortage of fertilizer, pesticide and weedicide.As a result the country’s agriculture sector has been badly affected.
At every time when I visited my Angunakolapellessa residence, farmers put forward before me their array of grievances.Accordingly I submitted a Cabinet Memorandum in order to launch instant cultivation drive to prevent any possible food shortage.Organic farming is very important concept.However state of affairs have been arranged in such a manner to make farmers fed up of the organic farming.When we pointed out the fact that cultivation is not possible in the absence of chemical fertilizer, pesticide and weedicide, certain officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and myself were branded as agents of chemical fertilizer industrialists.
His Excellency the President has appointed a Committee representing of 17 Ministries to implement that programme.Unfortunately certain elements bent on disrupting government forward march have taken action to prevent the implementation of the programme at its very beginning.As a result now we have to import rice and many other food items unexpectedly.
At present heavy rains are experiencing and all tanks and anicuts have been filled with water.If necessary facilities were made available to farmers, the previous Maha season and this Yala season would have been the highest yield collected two seasons in the history.
I first assumed duties as the Minister of Agriculture in May 2018.The same has been assigned to me in the same month after 04 years.When my first assuming the post, farmers were facing many hardships due to lack of fertilizer for cultivation of that Yala season.However it was successfully cultivated with the assistance of all stakeholders concerned.
I am ready to accept the same challenge at the beginning of this Yala season too.I am going to launch a comprehensive programme to make this Yala season successful aimed at not keeping people at hunger.I respect and honour the faith reposed in me by his Excellency the President and the Hon. Prime Minister.