Over 85 pc of Maha paddy lands cultivated

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Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said yesterday that Sri Lanka has a target paddy cultivation of 848,000 hectares for Maha 2021 of which 730,000 hectares had already been cultivated by farmers across the country, despite a number of challenges.

Farmers who had organized protests and criticized the State decision of using organic fertilizer have later understood the reality and joined with the State’s ‘Green Agriculture Policy’’ and currently are fulfilling their responsibilities. Therefore, we will definitely achieve the target of getting 848,000 metric tonnes of paddy for this Maha season by end December,” he added.

FILE - A farmer carries harvested paddy on his head at a field in Kalutara on the outskirts of Colombo on February 24, 2021. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP) (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)FILE – A farmer carries harvested paddy on his head at a field in Kalutara on the outskirts of Colombo on February 24, 2021. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP) (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images)He was addressing the gathering at the national dialogue organized on the forward journey of organic fertilizer in the country held at BMICH yesterday.

He added that a new culture and new economy have been created through the introduction of a number of environmental friendly programmes envisioned in the ‘Green Agriculture Policy’ of the Government. People of this country will be receiving more benefits in the coming years through these projects,” he added.

A number of farmers’ organizations islandwide had assisted us to make organic paddy farming in the Maha season successful.Expressing his views, Minister Aluthgamage said the decision taken by the Government for organic farming is a decision that is beneficial to the health and environment of the people of this country. A new organic economy and culture have already been created in the country due to this programme.

“We have allowed farmers to use chemical fertilizer if they want. However, we give fertilizer subsidies and other relief only to farmers using organic fertilizer.This will reduce the risk of many diseases, including kidney disease. Also, the availability of non-toxic food products will enable people to obtain clean and nutritious food. Therefore, despite all kinds of insults and persecution, we will work to make this policy decision a success,” the Minister said.

Secretary to the Agriculture Ministry, Udith Jayasinghe said implementing this programme is a difficult task. “We need to make a transformation in the agricultural sector for our children and the future generations. Therefore we will take all possible steps to succeed and then we can convince the world that Sri Lanka is one of the countries in the world that practises farming without using chemicals,” he added.

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