JVP farmers’ union claims sharp drop in paddy cultivation


by Dasun Edirisinghe

The All Ceylon Peasants Association (ACPA) yesterday warned of an acute shortage of rice due to a steep reduction in the extent of paddy land cultivated during Yala season.

Namal Karunaratne, president of the ACPA affiliated to the JVP said that even the cultivated paddy fields had been badly affected by lack of fertiliser and natural causes.

The JVPer alleged that the much publicized government project to replace the fertilizer subsidy with cash had failed to provide relief to farmers. According to Karunaratne more than 30% of farmers hadn’t received the money though the government repeatedly assured payments on time.

More than 30,000 acres of cultivated lands had been destroyed due to natural causes, Karunaratne said, alleging that the government had reduced the amount of cultivated land by about d 250,000 acres.

Karunaratne pointed out that Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake had publicly admitted that there had been a sharp drop in the extent of cultivated land.

Karunaratne alleged that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, too, had discouraged the farmers by declaring that it was much more profitable to import rice.

Pointing out that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hadn’t contradicted Minister Karunanayake, Karunaratne alleged that the government’s irresponsible behaviour would discourage the youth from taking to farming and the future of the country’s agricultural sector was bleak.

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