Sri Lanka Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera said that this year will go down in history as the year in the history of Sri Lanka in which the highest amount of crop damage compensation will have to be paid.
The Minister announced this while starting the agricultural programs at the Rathgama Panwila Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Village (17) evening.
The Ministry of Agriculture is going to implement the Youth Agri Entrepreneurship Village program in 11 villages in several districts this year. So far, activities have been started in 07 villages and Panwila is the 8th village in the program.
A number of beneficiary families in Panwila, Mawadavila and Ranapadeniya Gramseva domains were also distributed here, equipment sets, seeds and plants needed for poultry farming and other agricultural activities.
Here, the minister expressed his opinion regarding crop damage.
This year goes down in history as the year in which the highest amount of crop damage compensation is given in the history of Sri Lanka. We know that by now the whole country has been engulfed by drought. Lack of water affected 65,000 acres in the Udawalawe region, which contributes the most to the production of rice needed by our country.
If the right decisions were taken at the right time, this damage would not have happened to the farmers of Udawalawe. According to our current assessment, 39,000 acres have been destroyed by drought. This amount is increasing day by day. We think that by the time the assessments are completed, the amount of crop damage may exceed 50,000 acres.
Paying compensation is not easy. We know we are in a bankrupt country. We still haven’t been able to recover from it. When we are now trying to stand up little by little, this drought situation has affected us. The Udawalawe region is the region with the best paddy fields that give us the most paddy harvest. Today, we have to watch the rice fields in that region being destroyed. I fearlessly say that this disaster was caused by not taking the right decisions at the right time and not working together as a team.
It is okay to not compensate the farmers because there is no money in the treasury. But we must also consider the situation of the country. Considering all these issues, we should give fair compensation to the farmers.
If we do not provide compensation, the farmers will not return to the fields. Therefore, in order to return them to paddy farming, we as the government must give them compensation.
I presented the facts to the Cabinet about this. Even if there is a financial crisis in the country, the Hon’ble President and the Cabinet are of the opinion that compensation should be given to farming. The Minister further stated that as the Minister of Finance, he will take steps to provide fair compensation to the farmers.
Minister of State for Agriculture Mohan de Silva, Secretary of the Ministry Mr. Gunadasa Samarasinghe and others participated in this event.