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Govt announces youth agri-entrepreneurship initiative and fertiliser subsidies

June 27, Colombo (LNW): Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera revealed plans for a national week dedicated to the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Village Programme, scheduled from July 01 to 07.

This initiative aims to promote agricultural entrepreneurship among young people across 160 selected villages nationwide.

Speaking at a press briefing themed “Collective Path to Agricultural Stability” held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) yesterday (26), Minister Amaraweera outlined key agricultural strategies.

He highlighted the allocation of Rs. 10 million per village, totalling Rs. 1600 million, for developmental projects in the first phase.

Addressing agricultural challenges, Minister Amaraweera emphasised the importance of enhancing rice cultivation to achieve self-sufficiency.

He noted improvements in 2023, with rice production meeting the national requirement of 4.1 million metric tonnes, and outlined plans to double cultivation over the next five seasons.

Acknowledging issues in egg and milk production, the Minister announced a distribution of 160,000 chicks to entrepreneurs in the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Villages.

He also addressed concerns over coconut oil prices, proposing a reduction in the Rs. 150 per litre import charge to the Cabinet.

In response to rising fertiliser costs impacting crop yields, Amaraweera secured 55,000 metric tonnes of MOP fertiliser from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which will be distributed free to paddy farmers for two upcoming seasons.

Additionally, subsidies for tea fertilisers are being provided at a 50 per cent discount through government-owned companies, costing Rs. 12 billion.

The initiatives aim to bolster agricultural productivity and support rural entrepreneurship amidst current challenges.

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