Monday, June 5, 2023

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President directs Plantation Reform Committee officials to resolve issues in sector

In a recent meeting at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, President Ranil Wickremesinghe directed the Plantation Reform Committee (PRC) officials to take immediate action to resolve the challenges facing Sri Lanka’s plantation sector. The President reiterated the government’s commitment to carrying out its agricultural modernization plan but highlighted several issues that need to be addressed in the sector.

During the meeting, the President pointed out that one of the main challenges faced by regional plantations is the leases that are due to expire in the next 10 or 15 years. He stressed that if the government is going ahead with agricultural modernization, it will have to give new leases. However, he also instructed the members of the PRC to find a basis for granting new leases as not all companies have performed well. The President suggested that companies should not be allowed to sell their shareholdings without the consent of the government once they have been given land.

Other issues discussed during the meeting included housing in the plantation sector, challenges facing the three main crops (tea, rubber, and coconut) that come under the plantation sector, and problems pertaining to tea plantation line-rooms and housing. The President also addressed issues related to the Mahaweli Authority and its lands, which are now being resolved.

The meeting also focused on a pilot project where land is being subcontracted to workers, issues related to the Land Reform Commission (LRC), and the sale of tea to Iran. The President stressed the importance of modernizing agriculture and turning it into agribusinesses.

The President instructed the members of the PRC to update the survey conducted in 2018 to assess the performance of the companies and determine the basis for granting new leases. He also emphasized that the issue of gemming should be addressed.

The meeting concluded with the President directing the PRC officials to take immediate action to resolve the issues in the plantation sector. The President’s directive is expected to provide a major boost to the sector, which has been struggling with several challenges in recent years.

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