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Minister to promote consumption of nutritious meals

The Fisheries, Aquatic Resources and Rural Economic Affairs Ministry will focus on increasing the nutritious value of our daily meals, Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa said yesterday.

Addressing his first media briefing at the Ministry premises after taking over office last week, the Minister said he now has the Paddy Marketing Board, Livestock Ministry and fisheries all in one.

“It was just fish earlier, now I have the whole plate,” Minister Vijayamuni Soysa said.

“The President through this ministry aims to increase the nutrition value of our daily meals, especially for our rural population,the minister said.

“An important factor that one must consider is that 21.4 percent of our children under the age of five are malnurished,” the Minister said.

Soysa thus said that he planned to soon roll out a programme to provide school children (starting with national schools) with a glass of milk every day to encourage better nutrition,

“In this country we propagate the myth that if you drink milk, you will get phlegm; that is not true. Don’t tell your children that. Throughout our history, we have consuming milk products, from curd to ghee. But now we have forgotten that,” the Minister said.

The Minister hoped to bring back the programme of making the country self-sufficient in milk production. In the next 18 months, we will focus on increasing production than investing in buildings,” he added.

He has also planned on introducing refrigeration facilities to Economic Centres which come under his ministry now. The Dambulla Economic Centre will be the first to have such a facility.

Subjects to ministries, however, are yet to be Gazetted but the minister said work on all areas have already begun given that they would be working on a tight schedule this time around.