President Maithripala Sirisena says in order to make the National Food Production drive a success, the Government will remove all taxes on imported Agricultural Technological equipment.
The President made these remarks yesterday, addressing the inauguration ceremony of the National Food Production Battle held at the premises of the paddy field of Thibbotuwawa, Kekirava.
The ‘National Vap Magul Ceremony’ for the 2017/2018 Maha Season was started with new strength under the National Food Production Battle launched under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena, with the aim of taking forward the national food production programme, overcoming the challenges of climate change, with new vigour in a sustainable manner to revive the agricultural sector of the country.
The President further said the year 2018 would be named as the Year of Local Food Production, to take forward this national programme in a comprehensive manner.
The President pointed out the issues which had risen as a result of the partitioning of many coconut estates, including estates in the Coconut Triangle, into small blocks mostly for housing projects and emphasized the need of introducing a National Housing Construction Policy to control this situation in the future.
President Sirisena further emphasized that all citizens of the country, irrespective of political, ethnic, religious or cultural differences, should unite to achieve success in the national food production programme, which will make the country self-sufficient while eliminating poverty.
He also requested all those who blamed the government and protested against it to join hands with this initiative, keeping aside their protest rallies, as true citizens who love the country.
“The National Food Production Battle is not limited to the ceremony today or to a period of just one week. It is a beginning of a comprehensive national programme to be carried out under a three-year plan. All government and private institutions and all other related sections should contribute to this, considering this as a responsibility beyond the duty”, the President said.
“The government will implement the required programme to create good living standards to the children of farmers by freeing the farmers from debt and providing better education to the children so that they earn good social recognition. The government also will take action to increase the production process by providing required facilities and resources to the agricultural sector,”he stated.
“The government has given instructions to the officials to take notice of the relief to be given to farmers by state and private banks, under this national food production programme. The President said the government has requested private companies to implement a subsidized programme for farmers to buy agriculture related equipment,” the President said.
President Sirisena said the budget–2018 would include a number of proposals to strengthen the agricultural economy and the economic situation of farmers.
The President presented Mahaweli land deeds, Mahaweli scholarships and agricultural insurances on the occasion. He also delivered paddy seeds among the farmers affected by drought. He also presented Commendations to outstanding farmers and the prizes to the winners of home gardening in 2017.
Mahaweli Director General Gotabhaya Jayarathne presented the Agricultural Plan 2017–2018 to the President. President Sirisena presented the book on soil conservation to the schoolchildren.