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Rs. 17.5 mn for domestic cultivation to discourage imports

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Services has allocated Rs.17.5 million for large-scale vegetable cultivation in several districts.

The Ministry is hopeful that the importation of vegetables could be minimized to a great extent and the vegetable cultivation project has been designed to cultivate different kinds of indigenous vegetables, the Agriculture and Agrarian Services said.

Agrarian Services Ministry media Secretary A.H.L.Somatilaka told The Island Financial Review that self-sufficiency in vegetables could be achieved as a massive vegetable cultivation project was about to begin shortly. Different kinds of vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, brinjals, ladies fingers, dambala, green grams and cowpea would be cultivated on a large-scale.

He said that the promotion of vegetable cultivation extensively could raise the nutritional benefits of people because consumption of vegetables and pulses would promote one’s health. The project would also help improve the income of farmers.

Somatilaka pointed out that the local vegetable production was faced with a number of adverse effects different kinds of pest diseases, high production cost, low productivity, high productivity on some occasions, lack of quality, wrong use of agro-chemicals and destruction of harvest due to natural calamities.

He added that the Agrarian Services Ministry had drawn its attention to the above-mentioned problems related to vegetable cultivation processes and would educate the farming communities to increase harvest. The Ministry would also encourage farmers increase seeds production of various vegetables, allowing farmers to produce seeds production, providing necessary training on the new farming techniques, introducing new varieties and the correct use of agro-chemicals.

Somatilaka cautioned that the principal objective behind the large-scale vegetable cultivation project would be to increase the local vegetable production, augment the income of farmers and provide fresh vegetables to people at purse-easy prices. The Agrarian Services Ministry was confident that by 2010 the importation of different kinds of vegetables could be stopped.

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