- President announces move at launch of National Food Production Battle
- Declares 2018 as Year of Local Food Production
- Promises many proposals to strengthen economy of farmers in 2018 Budget
- National Housing Policy to protect agricultural sector
In a major boost to the agriculture sector, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said the Government will remove all the taxes on imported agricultural technological equipment to make the National Food Production drive a success.
He made these remarks addressing the inauguration ceremony of the National Food Production Battle held at the premises of the paddy field of Thibbotuwawa, Kekirava, yesterday.
Following the ‘National Wap Magul Ceremony,’ the 2017/2018 Maha Season was started with renewed vigour under the National Food Production Battle. The program, initiated under the guidance of President Sirisena, aims to take forward the country’s food production agenda and revive the agricultural sector by overcoming the challenges of climate change with new resolve in a sustainable manner.
Speaking at the event, the President said 2018 will be named the Year of Local Food Production so as to comprehensively carry out the program.
Sirisena observed that issues cropped up as a result of partitioning many coconut estates including the estates in the Coconut Triangle into small blocks mostly for housing projects. He stressed on the need to introduce a National Housing Construction Policy to control this situation in the future.
President Sirisena further said that all citizens of the country, irrespective of political, ethnic, religious or cultural differences, should unite to achieve success in the national food production program, which seeks to make the country self-sufficient while eliminating poverty. He also requested all critics fo the Government who are engaged in protests to join this initiative, setting aside their differences and protest rallies as true citizens who love the country.
“The National Food Production Battle is not limited to the ceremony today or to a period of just one week. It is a beginning of a comprehensive national program to be carried out under a three-year plan. All government and private institutions and all other related sections should contribute to this, considering this as a responsibility beyond duty,” the President said.
“The Government will implement the required program to create a better living standard to the children of farmers by freeing the farmers from loan burdens, and providing better education to the children ensuring social recognition.
The Government also will take action to increase the production process by providing required facilities and resources to the agricultural sector,” he added.
Instructions have been issued to relevant officials regarding relief measures to be given to farmers by state and private banks, under the National Food Production program, said Sirisena, adding that the Government has requested private companies to implement a subsidy program for farmers to buy agriculture related equipment.
Budget 2018, said the President, will include a number of proposals to strengthen the agricultural economy and the economic situation of the farmers.
Mahaweli land deeds, Mahaweli scholarships and agriculture insurances were presented to farmers at the event. Sirisena also distributed paddy seeds among farmers affected by the prevailing drought conditions. Commendations to outstanding farmers and prizes to winners of Home Gardening 2017 were also presented by the President in addition to a book on soil conservation given to school children.
At the ceremony, Director General of Mahaweli Gotabhaya Jayarathne presented the Agricultural Plan 2017 – 2018 to the President.