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President says farmers should be protected

Jun 23, 2011 10:56:08 AM - itnnews.lk

The duty of the Government is to protect the brave soldiers who participated in the humanitarian operation as well as the farmers who provide rice to the country.

The President stressed that the harvest will be purchased from the farmers despite the problems faced. The President said that certain elements desire to defeat them economically and spread false propaganda.  The country was liberated and the people are allowed to live devoid of fear and suspicion. When all communities are prepared to march forward in unity, attempts are being made to thwart this process. He said that they are building not only a country destroyed by terrorists but a land that has been exploited by unscrupulous elements, where ownership of the land is snatched from farmers and  institutions such as CWE and Cooperatives are sold out. He said that attempts are made to distort what is happening. It is clear due to the Darusman Report and the Channel 4 documentary. He said that the innocent people should be allowed to live freely. He stressed that the assistance of all sectors is required to build this country.

He expressed these views at the Farmers Conference held at the Temple Trees to raise awareness in the farming community about the new fertilizer subsidy. The new fertilizer subsidy is being granted to tea, coconut, rubber, vegetable and fruit cultivations in addition to paddy cultivation. Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that has provided a 50 kilogram bag of fertilizer for a subsidized rate for six years continuously.  The Government is providing fertilizer at the cost of 34.6 billion rupees annually. The farmers have to bear only 10 percent of the value of fertilizer bag as the Government bears 80 percent of the value. Under the new fertilizer subsidy a bag of chemical fertilizer for the cultivations is being provided at the cost of 1200 rupees. It is only 35 percent of the actual value of a fertilizer bag. The Government bears the remaining cost. It is expected that the annual cost in this regard will be 18 billion rupees. The total annual cost will be more than 52 billion rupees. The President symbolically distributed the fertilizer subsidy. Senior Minister Athuda Seneviratne, Ministers Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, S.M. Chandrasena, Jagath Pushpakumara and Reginald Cooray also addressed the gathering. Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayake and Government officials were amongst those who  participated in the occasion.