Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said that the Government has taken speedy actions to drive the traditional agro-based economy into manufacturing economy with foreign investments to create one million job opportunities.
Under this context, he noted that it is the responsibility of the relevant state owned enterprises to create a competitive market environment with state intervention for the farmers to get a good price for their produces.
The Minister also emphasized the need of shifting the policy of protectionism given for agricultural produces into the competitive market environment where producers of all major crops are assured one third of their production cost of the crops as profits with state intervention.
The Finance minister made this observation when he met a group of Farmer representatives of Mahaweli H Zone in Huruluwewa in the Anuradhapura district.
The Minister Agriculture Duminda Dissanayaka and Minister of Rural Economic Affairs P Harison had accompanied the representatives of the farmer organiozations of Huruluwewa.
Secretary to the General Treasury Dr. R.H.S Samaratunga, Anuradhapura District Secretary and several other related government officials were present at the meeting held at the Finance ministry.
Dissanayaka said that the Government has geared up a two pronged system of strengthening the local farmers while making the country self-sufficient in agricultural produces. Presently soya bean is cultivated in 10,000 hectares in the Mahaweli H zone. It needs to be expanded to cover 15,000 hectares if the country is to be self-sufficient in Soya bean. But due to non-availability of quality seeds it could not be done. Minister Dissanayake said that the agricultural ministry would purchase 3% of the produces to use as the seeds for the next harvest.
Minister Ravi Karunanayake promised to give the fullest support of the General Treasury for a sustainable purchasing system connecting the farmers directly with the relevant industries. As suggested by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Ministers Duminda Dissanayake and P Harison promised the farmer representatives that the Government would make the relevant intervention through the Paddy marketing Board and the Food Promotion Board to arrive at a direct purchasing mechanism by the Ministry of health to purchase soya bean from the Mahaweli H Zone farmers for the production of Triposa.
The Ministers, after having discussed the matter with Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senarathna over the phone agreed to submit a joint Cabinet proposal to reach a tripartite agreement with the Ministry Health for the direct purchase of Soya beans from the farmers in the Mahaweli H Zone.
As at present the annual production of Soya bean is little over 8000 MT and the Health ministry would need 5000 MT for manufacturing triposa. The Agricultural ministry through its Food Promotion Board would also make the intervention to sell the produces at the farm gate to industries to extract oil while 3 percent of the produce would be purchased for seed promotion while a sizeable portions goes to the market for consumption.