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Implement former Agriculture Minister Hector Kobbekaduwa’s programme to develop SL’s Agriculture

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“In order to develop Sri Lanka agriculturally, the ‘independent agricultural policy’ of the late Agriculture Minister Hector Kobbekaduwa must be implemented,” said Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, at the 40th commemoration ceremony of the late Agriculture Minister Hector Kobbekaduwa held yesterday (20), at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agricultural Research and Training Institute.

The commemoration ceremony was presided over by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, former President Maithripala Sirisena, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, Palitha Kohona representing the Hector Kobbekaduwa family and family members, State Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Mohan Priyadarshana de Silva, Suresh Raghavan, Members of Parliament and Duminda Dissanayake were present on the occasion.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera further expressing his views said, “I had accepted that in the vision of the late Hector Kobbekaduwa, what Sri Lanka needs must be produced in Sri Lanka itself. Accordingly, under this policy, his Agriculture programme was that, instead of importing from foreign countries, we should cultivate the food crops we need in our own country. If that policy had been continued, we would not have faced the economic crisis or food shortage that we are facing today. Instead of importing, his policies and programmes had the potential to create agriculture in the country that could feed other countries as well.

However, later on, due to the implementation of the policy that we get the food we need by importing, the country got into a crisis situation. It is my belief that, if the agricultural vision followed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was continuously implemented, we would have been able to solve all the problems we are facing today. Therefore, as Agriculture Minister, I will always endeavour to implement the guidelines included in Hector Kobbekaduwa agriculture policies.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena speaking on the occasion, said, “Hector Kobbekaduwa was one of the most talented leaders to work with Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike of the SLFP. I accept that the Cabinet appointed in 1970, as the best Cabinet in the political history of this country. Hector Kobbekaduwa, who was appointed Agriculture Minister in that Cabinet, started a huge revolution in the agricultural sector of this country. International countries came to understand the land and agriculture policy implemented by him, which fulfilled the needs of the people of this country.

Due to the cultivation programme launched by him, our country became self-sufficient in chilies at that time. Farmers who grew chilies in Polonnaruwa, built houses with the income from chilies. People called these houses ‘chili houses’.

It is a tragedy in our country that the cultivation programme started by Hector Kobbekaduwa was not implemented continuously. We feel the importance of his policy today more than then. In order to develop this country agriculturally, I also accept the agricultural policy adopted by Hector Kobbekaduwa, as the only solution.

Professor Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa gave the keynote speech.

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