Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP J.C. Alawathuwala speaking to a briefing held yesterday (30) claimed that the paddy harvest in the Kurunegala District has dropped by 40 – 50 per cent compared to the Season before.
“This is the season in which paddy farmers in the Kurunegala District are collecting their harvest. We clearly told the government and the Agriculture Minister that the harvest could drop by 50 – 60 per cent with this fertiliser crisis. Now see what has happened. Now, they have applied every fertiliser type – this garbage called ‘organic fertiliser’ – they were given and the harvest has dropped by 40 – 50 per cent. When the farmers’ tireless efforts at a huge expense end up in a harvest 50 per cent below than the previous year, how can they live?” the SJB MP said.
He added: “Now see what has happened in the country. The price of rice has skyrocketed. Compared to the prevailing prices, the price of rice has doubled and even tripled. On one hand the customer becomes helpless. What happens to the farmer on the other? In this so-called fertiliser problem that they had brought up, we have repeatedly warned that this crime must not be committed in this country. Our staple food is rice. Today, that staple food has reduced production by 50 per cent.”
We know that when independence was gained in this country, the rice production was 39 per cent. From the time of Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake to every other regime in this country, that was the percentage by which this country became self-sufficient in rice. When it was self-sufficient, Minister Mahindananda said that they were ‘ready to export’ rice. Now rice has to be imported to Sri Lanka. The country has been driven into a position where it has to import its own staple food, as there are no dollars,” the MP further noted.