The forthcoming Maha Season should be a resounding success to save the country from the impending food crisis and for that a proper programme should be implemented to provide the required 80,000 metric tonnes of seed paddy to farmers, Senior Professor Buddhi Marambe of the Peradeniya University said.
He said that 800,000 hectares of paddy is to be cultivated in the next Maha Season and if the required seed paddy cannot be produced in the Yala season this year, the Maha Season will also fail and the country will move towards another crisis.
He was speaking at a media briefing after presenting the recommendations of the Association of University Teachers for the Protection of Agriculture in Sri Lanka (AMSA-SL), including the recommendations for the revival of Sri Lankan agriculture to the Malwathu and Asgiriya Mahanayake Theras.
He said it was important to properly identify the extent and depth of the current food crisis and only then would it be possible to successfully tackle any future crisis.
“We have been able to increase the paddy yield from 650 kg per hectare at the time of Independence to 4,800 kg today due to the use of the knowledge gained through research and new technology in agriculture,” he said.
He said that while ensuring food security in a country, attention should be paid to meeting the nutritional needs of the people and that the prices of chicken and eggs have gone up sharply as a result of the 60 per cent decline in maize yields last season.
He said tea export earnings in the first quarter of this year had fallen by US$ 52 million compared to the first quarter of 2021, and that the fertilizer problem had a direct impact on this.
He said that if the Agriculture Department identifies crop priorities and makes plans, it can make the most of limited resources. In this regards he said it was important to prioritize rice as the staple food, maize as animal food and tea as an export crop.