Minister Samarasinghe said so while participating in the third reading debate on budget 2015 on the 13th allocated day today (18).
Expenditure heads of the ministries of Productivity Promotion, Plantation Industries, Minor Export Crop Promotion, Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development, Sugar Industry Development, Special Projects, Social Services, Re-settlement, Disaster Management, Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation and Wildlife Resources Conservation referred to a Special Parliamentary Select Committee for the consideration were taken up for debate today.
Minister Samarasinghe said that the President had allocated 12 billion rupees for the Ministry of Plantations Industries in the budget 2015. The allowance for re-growth of tea per a hectare was increased from RS 350,000 to Rs 500, 000. Allowances paid for new cultivations have been increased from Rs 250,000 t0 Rs 400,000. This is a 45 percent increase. Never in the history tea smallholders have been given this much of financial support. The government had been given Rs 300 per kilo certified price for rubber. The surplus would be given to the rubber cultivators by the Rubber Development Board. All the credit for these benefits provided to plantations industry should be given to the President.
He also said that Sri Lanka is targeting new markets to promote Ceylon Tea and has already working on achieving the markets of China and the USA.
Minister Samarasinghe also said a Cabinet paper will be presented soon to open a special division to promote Ceylon tea in China. (Special Reporter/HC)