January 24, 2021
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      Measures have been taken to increase the paddy harvest of the Mahaweli Zones by 15% next year – Sate Minister Siripala Gamlath

    November 30, 2020

    The State Minister of Mahaweli Zones, Canals, and Settlement Infrastructure Development, Siripala Gamlath reiterates that measures have been taken to increase the paddy harvest of the Mahaweli Zones by 15% next year.

    The State Minister was participating in the debate on the heads of his ministry in Parliament.

    Expressing his views, State Minister Siripala Gamlath said that the Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority has implemented several programs for the year 2021 intending to make the ‘Vision of Prosperity’ program of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa a ground reality.

    He further said that necessary action has been taken to enable the Mahaweli Zones to contribute its share by supplying the harvest of paddy, additional crops, vegetables and fruits thereby improving the lives of the settlers in these zones.

    The State Minister said that the current harvest that is obtained from a hectare of Mahaweli land is 5.6 metric tons and it is expected to increase the prevailing harvest by 15% to 7.5 metric tons per hectare next year.

    State Minister Gamlath further said:

    ‘I am proud to tell this august house that the budget this year has allocated Rs.4,457 million rupees to make the country self-sufficient in paddy, additional crops, vegetables and fruits and export the surplus thereby improving the lives of the Mahaweli settlers. Our anticipation is to give value to every inch of land which are owned by the Mahaweli settlers on the guidance of Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa under the ‘Vision of Prosperity’. The current paddy harvest that is obtained from a hectare of land in the Mahaweli Zone is 5.6 metric tons. The goal is to increase this ratio to 7.5 metric tons per hectare within the next two years. Steps will be taken to reactivate one thousand farmer organizations in the Mahaweli zone and all the members of such organizations will be trained in the field of agriculture.

    Among them are: to persuade farmers to use certified seed paddy, introduce hybrid varieties to obtain better harvest, introduce new cultivation systems such as parachute farming method to earn high income and cultivation in polytunnels. Correct land preparation (use a minimum number of fields per hectare/reduction of the size of ridges) correct use of fertilizer and chemicals, systematic control of water.

    Steps will be taken to encourage farmers to use organic fertilizer for the cultivation, and training and guidance to the farmers to enable them to obtain the maximum harvest from their cultivation.

    It is high time we ended the haphazard use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides in cultivation. Our government has drawn attention to replacing such a system with an environmentally friendly organic farming system where minimum chemicals are used in cultivation.

    Accordingly, a large scale program to produce crops using organic fertilizer has been launched for the first time in the country near the Kaluganga water reservoir in Moragahakanda Zone.

    Plans are afoot to cultivate 1900 acres of paddy, additional crops as well as vegetables by using only organic fertilizer during the season of 2021. In addition, steps have already been taken to grow crops using organic fertilizer in the Mahaweli B/C and Walawa special zones and several steps have been taken to improve these cultivations.

    The Mahaweli Agricultural Unit has contributed heavily, through its Prosperity program to strengthen ‘Vision of prosperity’ program introduced by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

    Mahaweli Zones have contributed to national food production in the following manner:

    Paddy - 21%, Soybeans – 91%, big onion – 43%, Maize – 10%, Banana – 22%, Papaw – 13% and Mango – 8%.

    Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority has 16 farms and they continue development activities while maintaining training and model farming as well as providing the required knowledge to the members of the farming community.

    These farms have been providing certified seeds and seedlings and the aim of the ministry is to improve these farms further and increase the production of quality seeds to achieve self-sufficiency in supplying standard seeds and seedlings of the Mahaweli farmers.

    Rs.500 million have been allocated in the budget for 2021 to maintain small irrigation tanks and canals. Steps will also be taken to use such allocations to maintain small tanks and canals in Mahaweli H, B and C zones as well as Udawalawa Zone.

    Rs.500 million has been allocated for the essential and emergency maintenance activities of the main and middle scale irrigation systems. Steps will be taken to implement the maintenance and operation of water canals of 19 main and middle scale irrigation systems such as Victoria and Randenigala reservoirs.

    In addition, Rs.300 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and canals in the Mahaweli B zone in the Polonnaruwa and the Batticaloa districts. Accordingly, plans are afoot to rehabilitate irrigation canals up to the length of 100 kilometers and small irrigation tanks and infrastructure facilities in the Mahaweli B zone.

    At the same time, Rs.200 million has been allocated for the rehabilitation of settlements and irrigation systems in the Ridimaliyadda. Under this program, it is expected to develop the infrastructure facilities such as rehabilitation of small irrigation tanks and irrigation canals in the Ridimaliyadda Division of Rambaken Oya Zone.

    In addition, State Minister Siripala Gamlath said that steps will be taken to provide freehold land or permits to 50,000 Mahaweli settlers who are still denied the right for a piece of land to be called their own.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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