Sep 06, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the government has taken steps to drive the traditional agriculture based economy into manufacturing economy with foreign investments that create one million job opportunities in times to come.
“It is needed to shift the policy of protectionism given for agricultural produce into a competitive market environment where producers of all major crops are assured one third of their production cost of the crops as profits with state intervention,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the relevant state-owned enterprises to create a competitive market environment with state intervention for the farmers to get a good price for their produce.
Finance minister made these comments when he met a group of maize and soya bean farmers in Anuradhapura.
Karunanayake said that the fullest support of the General Treasury will be given for a sustainable purchasing system connecting the farmers directly with the relevant industries.
The Minister for Agriculture Duminda Dissanayaka and Minister of Rural Economic Affairs P Harison, Treasury Secretary R.H.S Samaratunga and several government officials were present at the meeting held at the Finance Ministry.
Minister of Agriculture Duminda Dissanayaka said that the government has geared up for a two-pronged system of strengthening the local farmers while making the country self-sufficient in agricultural produce.
“Presently soya bean is cultivated in 10,000 hectares in the Mahaweli H zone. It needs to be expanded to cover 15,000 hectares if the country is to be self-sufficient in Soya bean,” he said.
“But due to non-availability of quality seeds it could not be done so the agricultural ministry would purchase 3 percent of the produces to use as the seeds for the next harvest.”
As suggested by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, the ministers Duminda Dissanayake and P Harison promised the farmer representatives that the government would make the relevant intervention through the Paddy marketing Board and the Food Promotion Board to arrive at a direct purchasing mechanism by the Ministry of health to purchase soya bean from the Mahaweli H Zone farmers for the production of Triposa.
The ministers after having discussed the matter with Health minister Dr Rajitha Senarathna over the phone agreed to submit a joint Cabinet proposal to reach a tripartite agreement with the ministry of health for the direct purchase of Soya bean from the farmers in the Mahaweli H Zone.
As at present the annual production of Soya bean is little over 8000 MT and the Health Ministry would need 5000 MT for manufacturing triposa.
The Agricultural Ministry through its Food Promotion Board would also make the intervention to sell the produce at the farm gate to industries to extract oil while 3 percent of the produce would be purchased for seed promotion while a sizeable portions goes to the market for consumption.