Sri Lanka’s ministry of agriculture has started a green chillies cultivation drive with a view to meeting 20 percent of the country’s demand locally, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
The programme was launched in the north central district of Anuradhapura last Saturday September 10.
Amaraweera had recently told reporters that Sri Lanka needs to increase the cultivation of green chilies and that it would be a good stream of income for the country’s youth.
Green chili prices have soared amid an overall rise in food prices as Sri Lanka goes through its worst economic crisis since independence, with high inflation leading to a sharp decrease in the quality of life for many. The island nation, reeling from the effects of a now-reversed chemical fertilizer ban, has been ranked fifth in food price inflation in the world in the latest assessment by the World Bank.
“Back in 1970 to ’77, we never imported chilies. We cultivated them in Sri Lanka,” said Amaraweera.
Amaraweera claimed that decisions taken by successive governments had adversely affected crops that were once produced locally.
“Now unfortunately because of the decisions taken, 99 percent of our chilies are imported.”
Sri Lanka’s agriculture ministry is promoting cultivation and self-sufficiency targeting self-sufficiency in rice by 2023.
The country has stocks of rice enough till mid-December, and though possibilities for shortages may occur, it can be brought under control, said Amaraweera.
To control pricing of poultry products through the cultivation and growth of maize for animal feed measures are still underway, he said.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by economynext.com has not been edited by SLM staff)