President unveils ambitious agricultural modernization plans
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has unveiled an ambitious plan aimed at revolutionising Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector. The proposed initiative involves the establishing of an Agricultural Modernization Task Force, which is set to encompass all crops and sectors within the industry.
Addressing the critical need for collaboration between the government and the private sector, the task force is anticipated to pave the way for comprehensive agricultural reforms.
President Wickremesinghe’s vision extends beyond crop cultivation to encompass animal husbandry in due course. The task force will include representatives from relevant government departments and select private sector entities, reflecting the need for a multifaceted approach.
In the pursuit of this ambitious agricultural modernisation programme, the President highlighted the critical importance of modernizing the Agricultural Support System as a foundational step. Speaking with determination, the President underscored that to achieve the envisioned transformation in the agricultural sector, a comprehensive overhaul of the support mechanisms is imperative.
The President’s call for modernization extends to various facets of the agricultural support system, including technical expertise, market linkages, and the adoption of advanced technologies. He acknowledged that a reimagined support system will play a pivotal role in empowering farmers to embrace modern practices and technologies, thereby boosting productivity and sustainability.
An integral aspect of this initiative is the incorporation of resources and expertise from the Ministries of Agriculture, Plantations, and Irrigation and Mahaweli Development. This consolidation, combined with the participation of nine provincial councils, seeks to address challenges comprehensively with the assistance of the respective Governors. The involvement of the private sector will further diversify expertise and resources. President Wickremesinghe’s plan extends beyond governmental agencies, seeking to integrate universities and research institutions into the modernization endeavour.
President Wickremesinghe emphasised the importance of breaking down barriers and forming specialized groups within the task force. The goal is to address specific subjects such as paddy cultivation, Mahaweli development and vegetable production. Expertise from individuals will be instrumental in guiding these efforts.
The President has articulated this sweeping agricultural modernization strategy which aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s farming sector during an agriculture modernisation meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday (10).
Moreover, President Wickremesinghe advocated the diversification of efforts across various sectors within agriculture, urging private sector involvement in fields such as paddy and vegetable cultivation. He proposed tailored collaboration to optimize outcomes and promote growth.
In addition, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the need for a revamped paddy purchasing system. He stressed the importance of ensuring value for money and optimal utilization of resources. The President underscored that the funds expended on paddy purchases and related endeavours could have been redirected to provide essential sustenance to the population.
A key focus of the President’s discussion was on revamping Sri Lanka’s paddy purchasing system. President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of prudent resource allocation and optimal utilization of funds. He highlighted potential partnerships with established companies in agriculture and emphasized the need for a unified approach.
To ensure successful implementation of the modernization strategy, President Wickremesinghe urged active private sector participation. He underscored the potential for substantial gains in both productivity and sustainability by involving private enterprises. He hinted at potential collaborations with international partners, like Thailand, to bolster the modernization drive and underlines the commitment to sourcing innovative solutions from around the globe.
President Wickremesinghe’s vision emphasizes the need for rapid modernization that not only elevates agricultural productivity but also addresses pressing concerns related to climate change President Wickremesinghe’s call to consider climate change targets in the process of modernization reflects a forward-thinking approach that seeks not only to enhance productivity but also to safeguard the delicate balance of our ecosystem. His vision encapsulates the urgency of addressing climate challenges while concurrently modernizing agricultural practices.
In addition, President Wickremesinghe signalled a transformation of the 567 agrarian service centres countrywide into comprehensive farmer service hubs. He proposed the hiring of machinery from these centres to aid smallholder farmers who lack access to modern equipment. President Wickremesinghe underscored the importance of balancing regulations and private sector engagement in this endeavour.
Wrapping up his speech, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to supporting agriculture as a potent avenue for national development. He called for coordinated efforts, innovative strategies and a unified approach to ensure the success of the modernization drive. The President’s comprehensive vision seeks to pave the way for a vibrant, sustainable and dynamic agricultural sector in Sri Lanka.
President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, President’s Senior Economic Adviser Dr.R.H.S.Samaratunga, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Secretaries to the Ministries of Agriculture, Plantation,
Irrigation, Senior officials of the institutions of the line Ministries and Private sector representatives attended this discussion.
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