Saturday, 17 October 2020 09:54

President calls to create market with higher price for farmers, concessionary price for consumers

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has emphasised the importance of establishing a market that guarantees higher prices for farmers and a concessionary price for consumers.

He made these remarks at a discussion with the Committee on Cost-of-Living at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday.

The President pointed out that this objective can be realised by preparing a background that enables farmers’ islandwide to sell their harvest without the involvement of middlemen.

During the discussion the President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa focused on strengthening of measures to ensure the continuous distribution of essential consumer goods across the country without experiencing any scarcity.

Taking both the current cost of living conditions and difficulties experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic into account, President Rajapaksa removed the import duties imposed on several essential goods such as dhal, canned fish, onions and sugar on Tuesday. Instructions were also given to officials to plant coconut trees in the lands classified as abandoned, immediately. The government has commenced the plantation of coconut trees across 50,000 acres.

Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Chairman Basil Rajapaksa noted that a strategy is being implemented to produce vegetables, fruits and eggs to meet consumer demand within the area itself.

“The Ministry of Health has surveyed the daily consumer demand of a household. We have devised plans to grow vegetables, fruits in home gardens of low-income families, and fulfil the demand for eggs through domestic poultry farms, as measures to improve their living conditions,” he added.

The officials at the discussion also pointed out that the paddy harvest of both Yala and Maha seasons this year have been favourable compared to last year. President Rajapaksa meanwhile highlighted the need for introducing new methods to purchase paddy harvest in the future.

It was also stated during the discussion that a special program has been planned to transport fruits, vegetables and fertiliser via trains, with the assistance of Sri Lanka Railways.

Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, State Ministers Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Arundika Fernando, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretaries of the Cabinet and State Ministries, and the members of the Committee of the Cost-of-Living, were present at the discussion.

(FT)

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