University assistance via Divineguma to boost economic prowess of people: Basil

Saturday, 7 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Tissue culture lab for Gampaha District flower growers Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa stated that action will be taken to open a tissue culture centre in Gampaha Botanical Gardens to produce ornamental flowers, with the assistance of the University of Kelaniya. This is yet another step of the program which envisages obtaining assistance from the universities through the Divi Neguma National Program in order to uplift the economic prowess of the people. The Minister added that programs initiated to develop the livestock resources sector with the assistance of the University of Sabaragamuwa and to develop the animal husbandry sector with the assistance of the North Western University through the Divineguma Program are already being implemented in a successful manner. This was so stated by the Minister at a discussion held with regard to the establishment of a tissue culture centre for the benefit of the floriculturist in the Gampaha District. The Gampaha District can be regarded a leading centre engaged in floriculture targeting local and foreign market, reasons being its appropriate climate and close proximity to the airport. A large number of people are engaged in floriculture as a cottage industry and a program has been jointly launched by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Liya Abhiman Organisation to find solutions to the problems encountered by them and to uplift the industry. The main constraint identified in the process was the difficulty in obtaining flower plants of good quality to cater to the demands of local and foreign markets and this tissue culture centre is planned to be established in Gampaha Botanical Gardens with the assistance of the University of Kelaniya as the solution thereto. The Minister also instructed the relevant divisions to increase the production in the present tissue culture centre in the Gampaha Botanical Gardens in order to fulfill the needs of the growers during the construction period of this tissue culture centre. Minister Basil Rajapaksa further emphasised that the relevant institutions including the Department of Botanical Gardens should extend assistance to the growers presently catering to the local market to venture into the foreign markets as well. A host of state officials including Kelaniya University Vice Chancellor Prof. Sunanda Madduma Bandara, Divi Neguma Director General R.A.A.K. Ranawaka, Department of Botanical Gardens Director General Cyril Wijesundara, Ministry of Economic Development Additional Secretary Shantha Bandara and Gampaha District, District Secretary J.J. Ratnasiri, along with representatives of Gampaha District Floriculture Associations were among the large gathering on this occasion.