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“Govt. spends over Rs. 2,000 mn on vegetable, other seed imports”

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The Government spends more than Rs. 2000 million on the imports of vegetable and other seeds for cultivation in addition to the crops imported, said Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage in Parliament yesterday.

He made this observation in response to SLPP Parliamentarian Shantha Bandara during the round of questions for oral answers.

Minister Aluthgamage said that the country spends much on the imports of potatoes, onions and chillies. He added that 50,000 mt is imported today though we were self sufficient with chillies earlier.

He said that by 2024, chillie imports is expected to be banned. He added that to achieve the target, the country needs to produce 2500 kg of seeds. He said that a chilli seed producing village has been set up in Nawalapitiya.

He added that 75 percent of seed requirement of chilli is produced there.

Over 4000 hectares have been identified in the country to cultivate them and next year the import of chile next year will be reduced by 25 percent.

He further said that 65 percent of onion requirements is imported. He added that onion seed cultivation programme has been introduced in Digampathana in Dambulla to make the country self-sufficient with onions within the next four years. He added that 3 million seed potato production programme in Seetha Eliya has been increased three fold, while the Ministry’s attention has been drawn on to the increase in milk production. The Government has allocated Rs.6,000 million on these projects.

Minister Alutggamage said that measures will be taken to transport food crops such as vegetables by train to minimise damage in transport. He added that nearly 45 percent of the crops in the country is destroyed by wild animals and while being transported.

He said that a special goods carriage is being designed to transport vegetables and fruits directly from Nuwara-Eliya to Colombo.

Monday, November 15, 2021 – 08:34

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