By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): With the World Bank’s decision to extend the aid for the agriculture sector modernization project, implemented to introduce new technology in Sri Lanka, for another 18 months, the Government is developing a QR code system for farmers to provide them with the relevant allowances and subsidies.
Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera said the Government is planning to incorporate modern technology into agriculture.
The World Bank has agreed to provide an amount of US$ 30 million to maintain this agriculture sector modernization project for another 18 months from May this year.
Under this project, agricultural sector modernization model villages will be started in all the 25 districts targeting different crops.
Also, a sour banana model village in Jaffna aimed at export, and two Cavendish banana projects aimed at export in Batticaloa and Sevanagala areas are to be started.
Agriculture ministry is currently developing a QR code system for farmers to provide them with relevant allowances and subsidies seamlessly.
Additionally, it has already discussed reducing the price of herbicides by 10% in the future while exploring the possibility of introducing a third season for cultivation, in addition to the current Yala and Maha seasons.
The third season has already commenced in the Hambantota district, where it is being cultivated as an alternative crop, rather than paddy. We encourage farmers from other districts to apply for this third season as well.” Minister Amraweera said.
The ministry is also planning to incorporate modern technology into agriculture with the aim of . cultivating transition crops that traditionally required 2.5 acres to grow to a more modern, efficient system that can be achieved in just half an acre of land.
Sri Lanka’s agriculture is characterized by a non-plantation sector and a plantation sector. Of the country’s approximately 2.3 million hectares of agricultural land, 80 percent is used for non-plantation food crops, comprising rice, maize, fruits, vegetables and other crops that are primarily grown on smallholder farms.
About 1.65 million smallholder farmers operate on average less than 2 hectares and contribute 80 percent of the total annual food production.
Agriculture has been an important driver of poverty reduction and accounted for about one third of the decline in poverty over the past decade.
Poverty reduction in rural areas in Sri Lanka was driven by higher agricultural wages which grew annually and caused rural poverty to fall more rapidly than in other sectors.
However, there is a risk that these income gains may not be sustainable if agriculture productivity does not improve and the sector does not start to modernize through diversification, commercialization and value addition.