Best time to develop country says President

15President Maithripala Sirisena says this is the best time to develop the country when all the countries in the world and international organizations do not have any animosity against Sri Lanka.

The President expressed these views at the inauguration ceremony of the National Program for Local Food Production, held in Iranamadu today.

The President pointed out that over 80 per cent of the requirement of chilies, soya, cowpea and green gram is imported. He recalled over Rs.6 billions spent on the importation of food in 2014.

“When this happens the farmers can never get rid of the debt burden”, he said.

The President said it is a shame to import food from foreign countries for consumption when there is an ability to produce every food within the country.

President Sirisena said every state owned lands which have not been cultivated will be used for food production in the future. He said he would take explanations from the responsible officials about the lands which will not be cultivated.

“The empty lands which have not been utilized for food production and owned by private sector will also be taken on temporary basis for food production. Every inch which can be cultivated should be cultivated”, the President stated.

He said the home garden cultivation is a key feature of this national program which is carried out not only by the Department of Agriculture and Presidential Secretariat but also by every institute of state and private sector. He pointed out that the people can cultivate vegetables and fruits at their plots of land in the house yard for their day to day consumption.

President Maithripala Sirisena requested the people, who enjoy the freedom and democracy under this new government, to unite irrespective of race, religion and caste differences to eliminate poverty in our country.

The program which was inaugurated in Kilinochchi district yesterday, will be implemented around the country in the future and the aim of the program is to grow agricultural products that can be grown in our county.

The President symbolically distributed title deeds of 613 acres of land in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts, used by the military, to their original owners and to the relevant institutions.

Marking the inaugural ceremony of the National Food Production program the President went to the paddy field and switched on the paddy planting machine. In parallel to this program the inauguration of the growing of agricultural products including corn, fruit and coconut was commenced today. In addition to that goats, dairy cows and coconut sapling were also distributed among the people and organic fertilizers were introduced for farming. President Sirisena also declared open the Aquaculture Development Centre at Iranamadu.

President Sirisena also made an observation tour of the Vocational Training Centre being built in the Iranamadu area under the financial assistance from Germany. (Colombo Gazette)