Plans to establish Dollar Account to boost agriculture sector

The Ministry of Agriculture is ready to establish a Dollar Account for the development of agriculture sector on Sri Lanka’s food security.

Chairman of the Presidential Committee on National Food Security Dr. Suren Batagoda said that if Sri Lanka’s food security is not established, the people will have to face a major nutritional deficiency next year.

A discussion was held at the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation under the patronage of Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday (29) about the work to be carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture on Food Security.

Dr. Batagoda, Ministry Secretaries Rohana Pushpakumara and Mrs. Chandra Herath as well as the Moneragala and Hambantota District Secretariat and a group of officials participated in the discussion.

The Minister of Agriculture emphasized here about the breakdowns that have occurred in our country’s milk, egg and poultry products. At present, liquid milk production has decreased by 19.8 percent, chicken meat production by 12.1 percent and egg production by 34.9 percent. If this situation continues, there is a risk of complete collapse of poultry and egg production next year.

It was emphasized here that the livestock industry has collapsed due to the lack of maize and other products required for the production of animal feed, as well as the shortage of chemical fertilizers and fuel.

To avoid this situation, there is a need of US$ 900 million for the future activities of agriculture. Dr. Batagoda proposed to focus on starting a dollar account for the future development of agriculture as there is difficulty in obtaining such amount from the Government Treasury at once.

He emphasized that Sri Lankans working in foreign countries, international organisations and other aid groups can arrange to get the amount for this account.

Accordingly, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the Secretary of the Ministry to prepare a Cabinet Memorandum to maintain a dollar account under the Ministry of Agriculture.

Apart from that, it was suggested to start a programme of providing Urea fertilizer for the maize grown in this year’s season as well as providing seeds and urea fertilizer needed to grow maize in more land in the next season. Accordingly, the minister mentioned that 25,000 hectares of Moneragala, 5,000 acres of Maduru Oya, 500 acres of Kantale and 3,000 acres of Kandakadu farm are planned to be cultivated.

The Minister also mentioned that President Ranil Wickramasinghe stated that this step is being taken to complete the protein requirement of the people of our country and that the Government will take all possible measures to ensure food safety. The President has expressed his agreement to give Government priority to food production in the coming period.

Dr. Batagoda also said that in order to achieve the success achieved in the Sri Lankan agriculture industry again in 2018, those reforms should be implemented again.

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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