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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 77

President Rajapakse discusses Agri-Business in the North and East with FCCISL

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

Colombo, 26 January, ( Eleven member strong Business for Peace initiative (BPI) delegation from the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) lead by its President Nawaz Rajabdeen, and Secretary General Samantha Abeywickrama, met President Mahinda Rajapakse last Monday at Temple Trees to discussed issues pertaining to agricultural development, with special reference to North, East and border areas. They also discussed several other vital issues.

Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Minor Crop Exports and Minister of Social Services and the core committee members of the Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Mannar Mulative, Monaragala, Kalmunai, Ampara, Puttlam, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa and Trincommalee were also present.

Due to the low price structure and lack of support from the authorities it was pointed out that the supply of seed paddy by the contract farmers were not adequate. President has instructed the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to renovate and upgrade Karadiyanaru farm in Ampara, in a bid to obtain high yielding seed paddy.

The other issue taken up for discussion was that the irrigation tanks which provide water for the farmers are silted and covered with water weeds and as water do not hold and flow large number of these irrigation tanks have been abandoned. The President instructed the relevant minister to remove the silt from these irrigation tanks and the water weeds that cover the surface of the tanks to be used for compost making, without additional cost of labor.

On the issue of transport hazards faced by Northern traders, the President instructed the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense to take immediate steps to ease the situation.

It was the Business for Peace Initiative (BPI) of FCCISL that was recognized as the forerunner for this meeting with the President as BPI has proved that private sector could in fact clear the path to achieve peace, development and rehabilitation in the North, East and border areas. How this peace building could be achieved has been proved when back to business of the conflict affected businesses under BPI were restored in a short space of time.

.As a prelude to this historic meeting with the President by FCCISL representing private sector, several meetings were arranged between Minister Maitripala Sirisena and the FCCISL and the preliminaries on all issues were discussed and arranged to facilitate the meeting with the President.

The President instructed the Director General of Agriculture to commence research soon to ensure quality paddy and other agricultural crops, as it was pointed out that the quality of paddy and other crops have to be improved. The President also encouraged the private sector to take steps to eradicate the post harvest wastage of agricultural products.

The President and FCCISL then discussed the specific issues such as excess production of Cashew nuts and herbs in the Kilinochchi District and was agreed to grant permission to transport them from Kilinochchi to Colombo to be sold. The President has stressed the need to encourage cashew growing in Anuradhapura and Puttalam districts.

To stop the cutting down of coconut trees for land sales and building construction, The President indicated that law should be enforced to put an end to this menace.

There were also discussions on how to facilitate private sector trader network in the transportation of non-food items and medicine to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts and it was agreed to discuss the matter with the Secretary to the Defense Ministry and also with the Wanni security forces Headquarters.

Top officials of the Ministry of Agricultural Development, Ministry of Fisheries, Irrigation Department, Mahawali Authority, Ministry of Plantation Crops Development, Ministry of Trade & Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health were also at hand to assist in the deliberations and to carry out the instructions and directives.

- Asian Tribune -

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