Ahead of World Food Day, which is today, the Cabinet on Wednesday has approved a three-year national program to boost food production.
The proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena to commence the program from the Maha season of 2015 and to implement within the period of 2016-2018 was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Government said the country was currently spending Rs. 200 billion annually for importing major foodstuff. However, such foods can be locally produced in a good quality that are free of contaminants.
Animal products and fisheries products can also be increased. Therefore, it has become a current requirement for minimising the expenditure on imports by producing the utmost amount of food in Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the National Program on Food Production is being planned to be implemented with the contribution of all the ministries and institutions with an estimated cost of Rs. 16 billion.
The program intends to fulfil the following objectives:
To insure balanced development in the country by introduction and launch of a crop production program, based on agro-environmental zones.
To attain self-sufficiency in the country in food items that could be locally produced thereby saving the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on food import.
To make available plentiful supplies of food in good quality by adoption of eco-friendly method thereby minimising the use of chemical fertiliser and pesticides in food production.
To contribute to promotion of food security and level of nutrition in the country through upgrading the quality of fish-based products, according to the acceptable hygienic standards.
To ensure food security by efficient transportation, distribution and effective management of buffer stocks of food.
To optimise productivity and minimise cost of production by use of quality inputs and adoption of appropriate technological and mechanical methods in production.
To keep a good rapport with all institutions involved in the local food production process and link this program with civil organisations like school community and farmers’ organisations making it part of the day to day life of the people.