The National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) of Sri Lanka has welcomed the decision by the government to reduce fertilizer prices to farmers to boost food security.
Referring to this recent announcement by Treasury Secretary Dr P.B. Jayasundera, NCE President Sarath de Silva said by doing so the government is boosting agriculture production, guaranteeing food security and uplifting farmers to make Sri Lanka the “Green Island of Asia”.
“We are fortunate to live in an era of unparalleled economic development, and unprecedented freedom and stability, that has been heralded by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which even the developed economies of Asia will take notice of. The undue pressures brought in by the Advisory Panel report of the United Nations becomes meaningless, as the benefits arising out of the decision will accrue not only to certain areas and communities of Sri Lanka, but to the South, North and North-East,” he said in a statement.
He said the fertilizer subsidy of paddy farmers has guaranteed that Sri Lanka’s staple food is secured. It has made the farmer stronger, and be able to withstand the shocks of global warming manifested in the form of periods of extreme weather. “As exporters we feel the whole nation will from now on join in the production of agri-based raw materials, which is the industry raw material that will enhance the export of value added Sri Lankan agri-exports of spices, fruits and vegetables, pulses etc. The long felt need of ‘a shot in the arm’ to activate Agri-raw material productions has been achieved by this timely introduction of a fertilizer subsidy,” the statement said.
The NCE President appealed to the government to go a step further and make provision for the proposed agri-cooperatives in the North Central, North and the Eastern Province. This will enable use of the reduction in fertilizer prices to grow red chilies, big onions, green gram, black gram and kurrakkan to substitute imports saving billions of rupees for the Sri Lankan economy. He said these cooperatives will be organized, managed and strengthened by the direct involvement of the private sector, exporters and agri- enterprises that have been holding back investments due to the lack of large parcels of land in a particular area.