Plans to meet entire big onion seed capacity by 2013, increase paddy and supplementary crop needs
By Uditha Jayasinghe
The Government is fast tracking its seed generation capacity under a Rs. 160 million programme for crucial crops, including paddy and big onions in an effort to increase production.
Cabinet has approved several proposals from the Agriculture Ministry to implement community-based seed production through a village programme under the ‘Mahinda Chinthana – Forward Vision’. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet briefing the necessity of producing seed varieties locally for cultivation.
“The Ministry is expected to implement this programme by selecting villages at least one for coordinating production activities through all units and sub offices under the Ministry of Agriculture and Provincial Ministries of Agriculture with the objective of providing technical services systematically,” he said.
The Cabinet paper also detailed plans to establish ‘Community Based seed Production Villages’ 600 in 2011; 1,200 in 2012; and 1,800 in 2013 under this new programme. The programme will also produce 1500,000 bushels of seed paddy; 205,000 kg of supplementary food crop seeds; and 55,000 kg of vegetable seeds, being an addition to the existing production.
Cabinet has also given approval to allocate Rs. 160 million for providing seed and other inputs coupled with coordination and training activities. The Big Onion Seed Production Programme aims to increase the big onion production by 2013 and to produce entire seed requirement locally.
“At present, 12,000 kg of big onion seed are produced locally. It has been planned to increase this quantity up to 46,000 kg being the targeted total requirement by 2013. The proposed new plan envisages the gradual increase of seed production from 2011 with the expansion of cultivations in Matale, Anuradhapura, Dambulla and Mahaweli areas with the help of selected farmers.”
The Minister also noted that farmers would be provided with quality seeds, technical knowledge and other inputs, facilities to vernalisation of parental tubers, trainings and holding field days, etc. Accordingly, Cabinet approval was granted to allocate Rs. 60 million for implementing this programme during the period 2011 to 2013.