Govt to deposit cash to farmers’ bank accounts for fertiliser

Govt to deposit cash to farmers’ bank accounts for fertiliser

February 22, 2018   05:40 pm

The Government has decided to deposit cash for full market value of fertiliser to the bank accounts of farmers, starting from the next cultivation season, Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake said.

He stated that in addition to banking cash for fertiliser to cultivate paddy, corn, soya and onion, each farmer will receive a free agri insurance cover of Rs 40,000 per acre.    

The decisions were taken during a discussion held today with the participation of Minister Dissanayake, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Special Assignments Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, the President’s representative to the National Economic Council (NEC) and relevant officials. 

It was decided that the full cost for the purchase of furtiliser by paddy farmers and the five additional crops of corn, soya, chili, opinions and potatoes, will be deposited to the bank accounts of farmers before the start of the next cultivation season.
It was also decided that the agri insurance scheme of Rs 40,000 per acre for the aforementioned crops, proposed in the 2018 Budget, will be provided free of charge removing the sum required to be paid by the farmers. 

The President’s Media Division issued the following statement regarding the new policy on fertilizer subsidy:

The attention was drawn to introduce a new policy to minimize the prevailing issues pertaining to fertilizer subsidy.

The attention was drawn in this regard when the National Economic Council (NEC) convened under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on February 21, for the first time after the elections.

During the meeting, the focus was on two main issues related to fertilizer subsidy, and it was discussed to change the present method of providing financial aid for fertilizer subsidy as well as take steps to prevent shortage of fertilizer in the country. 

The National Economic Council and the Ministry of Agriculture were also requested to formulate a suitable programme to ensure that agricultural activities are conducted without harming the land, while providing solutions to the problems regarding fertilizer needs. It was also noted the importance of maintaining the fertilizer reserves by the government in order to prevent a shortage of fertilizer. 

Further, various proposals were presented regarding the ban of the use of glyphosate and the National Economic Council decided to introduce a new policy by making amendments  to existing laws and regulations to provide some relief to those  who are faced with difficulties. Accordingly, it was suggested to allow the use of glyphosate for tea and rubber cultivation lands and suggested to formulate new policy after thoroughly examining the facts of the issues. 

The prime attention was drawn on controlling the rising cost of living. It was mentioned that the main reason for the rising cost of living is the increase in prices of food items and proposed to take immediate steps to further control the rising prices of food items. Meanwhile, attention was also paid to control the prices of rice and coconut, and planned to present a set of proposals          promptly by the National Economic Council, Consumer Service Authority and the Central Bank jointly with other relevant institutions in this regard.

The development of essential infrastructure was also discussed. The Minister of Megapolis Patali Champika Ranawaka pointed out that it is difficult to attract foreign investments without developing the essential infrastructure facilities including water supply, transport, power and energy. He further said that Sri Lanka should further invest money for the development of the IT field of the country.

Minister Nimal Siripala de silva informed that due to the severe rush occurred at the Katunayaka International Airport, steps should be taken to construct a new terminal to accommodate more passengers. Even though the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has agreed to provide assistance to construct the new terminal, due to higher construction costs, it is decided to build a temporary terminal.

Minister Sajith Premadasa pointed out the importance of formulating a National Policy regarding the payment schemes for builders and contractors of the government.  

Minister John Seneviratne stated that as there was no main infrastructure development programme carried out in the Sabaragamuwa province , priority should be given to construction of the Ratnapura Expressway.

Minister Sarath Amunugama stated that more attention should be given to the fields which can draw foreign revenue and emphasized the need of a economic policy which gives priority for the fields of foreign employment , textile, tourism, and other export crops followed mainly by the cultivation of tea.

The National Economic Council is looking forward to formulate short term, medium term and long term national policy covering the above mentioned problems and the other facts regarding the Sri Lankan economy.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe, and Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Sarath Amunugama, Rauff Hakeem, John Seneviratne, Sajith Premadasa, Duminda Dissanayake, Faizer Mustapha, Mahinda Amraweera, Malik Samarawickrma, Patali Champika Ranawaka, and as the officers holding positions in National Economic Council, Secretary to the President Austin Fernando, Secretary  to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake, Governor of Central Bank Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Secretary- General and Chief Economist of the National Economic Council Prof.Lalith Samarakoon including other members participated in this event.

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