The new government has emphasised the need of making use of the country’s arable land to cultivate, normally-imported, crops that are better suited to local weather conditions and to secure food security through value addition, the Presidential Secretariat Office announced.
This will help in increasing the supply of quality food, export it with value addition under the Sri Lanka brand name.
Sri Lanka is importing consumables such as potatoes, dried chilies, onions, red onions, green gram, black gram, and millet in addition to sugar, milk powder, wheat, vegetable oil, grains and animal food.
The list of imported food items also includes turmeric, tamarind, watermelon, Maldives Fish and sprats, the office said in a statement. According to Central Bank statistics, the government spends US$ 1,781 million annually for such imports.
This massive amount of money could be saved if these food crops are produced in the country, it said.
Farmers’ income will be increased and a large number of employment opportunities would be created in the value addition sector with the implementation of this crop cultivation programme, it highlighted.
The office urged the people to dedicate themselves to cultivating crops such as corn, green gram, chickpeas, and other essential commodities, thereby enhancing agricultural production.