Saturday, 26 April 2014 00:53
The Government has initiated a program to introduce several paddy varieties to farmers abroad to create a demand in the foreign markets, helping the country earn valuable foreign exchange, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said.
The Minister said the officials of the Mahaweli Authority and the Irrigation Department produced the BG 1165 paddy variety under the project Paddy Cultivation for Export. He added that paddy seeds were handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a ceremony in Giranduru Kotte.
The Mahaweli Authority and the Irrigation Department are in the process of introducing such paddy varieties which has a high demand abroad. The Minister said it was a challenge for the farmers to market their crops in the international market since they have been cultivating under traditional methods targeting only the local market.
The Minister said the Government is implementing a program to urge farmers to cultivate paddy for foreign markets which will bring them rich dividends.
The Minister stated that due to measures taken by the Government, farmers have been able to make the country self-sufficient in rice which once seemed impossible. The Government provided the fertiliser subsidy and water to farmers to encourage them to achieve this target, he said.
He added that Mahaweli farmers have contributed 47% of the annual harvest.