(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –President Gotabaya Rajapaksa emphasized that cultivators of minor crops including turmeric and pepper would be protected by ensuring stable prices for them.
The importation of turmeric and pepper was completely suspended to protect local producers of these crops. The President highlighted the importance of creating an environment to earn the highest possible income by harnessing more international markets. President Rajapaksa made these remarks during a meeting to discuss future activities of the Sugarcane, Maize, Cashew, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Betel Production Development and Promotion of Allied Products and Export State Ministry of held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (3).
The possibility of meeting demand for turmeric and pepper locally, exporting minor crops as value added products and formulating proper planning were discussed in length.
The annual demand for maize in the country is 500,000 metric tonnes. The area to be cultivated to yield this harvest is one hundred and ten thousand hectares. At present 80,000 hectares of land is
cultivated with maize and the government aims to increase it to 110,000 hectares of land by the end of next year.
Plans are underway to cultivate turmeric and ginger in 100 villages and it is planned to establish an Export Zone in the Kurundugahahatakma area. The President pointed out the importance of popularizing consumption of pepper among the people instead of chilli consumption.
Pakistan is the major importer of Sri Lankan betel.
Exports declined owing to flight restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak. President Rajapaksa instructed the officials to discuss with the airlines and find a solution this issue.
The President also emphasized the need for universities to expand research on value added products related to minor export crops.
During this meeting it was discussed in detail regarding the promotion of sugarcane industry and cashew cultivation.