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Reviving Agriculture

Jul 2, 2011 3:21:08 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Nihal Subasinghe (Photo by Thusitha Kumara)

A public quoted company is seemingly making efforts to revive the “pride” in agriculture among the youth, to prevent them from leaving farming in search of lucrative employment elsewhere.
CIC Agri Business, for the third year held its “Shuura Goviya” or Heroic Farmer awards ceremony at the BMICH on Monday. The winner was Nihal Subasinghe, a farmer from Siyabalanduwa.
A science graduate from Ruhuna University, Subasinghe grows mangoes and pawpaws on 27 acres of land, in addition to being involved in inland fishery.
Varuna Madawanaarachchi, CIC Agri Foods director in his speech said that 65% of Sri Lankans live in rural areas of whom 90% are farmers. He said that the need was to uplift them from subsistence level to commercial farming.
Madawanaarachchi said that 10 years ago “food security” was a “dirty” word, with the then government adopting the philosophy that it was more feasible to import certain food items than to grow them. However the recent commodity crisis reversed that thinking, with food security once more coming into vogue.Chief guest, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in his speech said that there won’t be any rice imports this year. Last year Sri Lanka was 117% self sufficient in rice, he said. This was possible because of the end to terrorism that opened up a third of the island’s landmass for cultivation and the other was the fertilizer subsidy (See also the main article on this page).