Minister of Agriculture and Plantation Industries Mahinda Amaraweera said that even though 800,000 metric tons of rice will be imported to Sri Lanka at a cost of 300 million dollars in 2022, our farmers will not allow a single grain of rice to be imported to Sri Lanka in 2023.
The minister expressed these views yesterday (13) while starting the work of the production factory for the coconut by-product village for export in Kachchigalara area of Barawakumbuka. There is a huge demand for coir and other coconut products in China. In addition to this, due to the high demand from Dubai, the coir and coconut fiber manufacturing industry in this country has become an industry that generates foreign exchange.
A group of Chinese representatives also participated in this event.
The minister who expressed his views here-
In the year 2023, the farmers of our country saved the largest amount of dollars for the country to save foreign exchange. If last year’s cultivation failed, rice must be imported. If that happens, the government will have to spend at least 350 million dollars.
But all the last year the people of this country consumed our own rice. In the year 2023, not a single grain of rice was imported to this country.
At present, the flood has affected rice cultivation in the high season. But according to the inquiries I made to the Department of Agriculture, they emphasized that even if some paddy fields are caught in the flood, the overall rice harvest will not be affected. However, we will get a bigger harvest this season. Therefore, I am sure that there will be no need to import rice even in 2024.
We have to immediately start the cultivation of the next yala season. I instructed the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agricultural Development to immediately start informing all farmers in this regard. The minister also mentioned that we have decided to grow additional crops such as green gram, cowpea and maize in the lands under small scale tanks.
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