(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Although Sri Lanka is growing its own peanuts, the quantities are not sufficient to meet the requirement and the government imports a large amount of the groundnut to the country annually.
Last year, 19,975 hectares of land were cultivated with peanuts and harvested 24,200 metric tons of peanuts. Another 9,904 metric tons of peanuts were imported in the year at a cost of Rs. 689 million.
The most imported variety is the ‘jumbo peanuts’ which have exceptionally large plump kernels.
As a substitute for these varieties, Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture has introduced a new peanut variety called ‘Sri Lanka Jumbo’.
The new groundnut variety was introduced to the Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera at the Grain Legume and Oil Crops Research and Development Centre, at Angunakolapelessa recently.
‘Sri Lanka Jumbo’ is a high yielding variety which yields plump and delicious extra-large peanuts. Also, harvesting can be done 110-115 days after cultivation.
It is also possible to harvest large groundnuts and the variety will yield more than 4400 kilograms per hectare.
It is believed that by cultivating the new variety, the national requirement of 27,294 metric tons can be grown locally and save the Rs. 700 million annually spent on imports.
Expressing his views at the occasion, Minister Amaraweera said that steps will be taken to establish an agricultural zone for peanut cultivation targeting Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Monaragala and Hambantota districts.
The Minister instructed the agriculture officials to grow the new variety as well as the other varieties in this agriculture zone.
Minister Amaraweera also said that by introducing new crops that are high yielding and economically profitable for the farmers, they can be encouraged for farming as well as attracting youth community to agriculture.