The country has a shortage of 800,000 metric tons of rice and even if rice is imported, the price of a kilo of rice will be 200 rupees, said the Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Conservation Mahinda Amaraweera.
He said this when he assumed duties as the new Minister of Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture in Battaramulla last evening (23).
The Minister said that not even 45% of the paddy lands to be cultivated during the Yala season have been cultivated and that obtaining 65,000 metric tons of urea fertilizer from India is still under discussion.
“I have to take over this ministry today, which is a hundred times worse than when I took over the ministry of agriculture in 2018. I am not afraid of challenges. No one likes to take over this ministry. Some paddy fields have not even been plowed for the Yala season.
It is still a challenge to resolve the issues of the Yala season. There is no fuel to send the farmers to their fields. They are also unable to plough their fields due to the lack of fuel. Arrangements will be made to provide fuel for all agricultural activities at selected petrol stations in the farming areas.
Steps will be taken to provide chemical fertilizers to farmers at reasonable prices. If every inch of land is not cultivated, people will die in the future. If there is a global food crisis, we will not be able to import food.
If Yala is not cultivated, no seed paddy for Maha!
If this season is not cultivated, there will be no seed paddy to cultivate in the next Maha season. Organic farming cannot be done without the consent of the farmers. It cannot be done at our sole discretion. This is not the time to experiment.
Today only a limited group of people can afford all three meals. Today’s food shortages will have an effect over the next 30-40 years. I spoke about this food shortage over a year ago and I was branded as an agent for fertilizer importers. Even if the harvest is reduced, don’t worry we will provide you a good price,” the minister said, warning that there is a huge collapse in the livestock sector.