Sri Lanka giving stimulus to turmeric, grains through import controls: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is giving ‘stimulus’ to producers of turmeric, grains and potatoes through import controls and free fertilizer, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in an independence day address.

“We are already seeing the benefits of strengthening farmers through managing import taxes to encourage the production of paddy, maize, grains, potatoes and onions; by limiting imports of products such as turmeric which can be grown domestically and by limiting the re-export of spices such as pepper,” he said.

“Domestic production has increased, and export opportunities have expanded.”

Banning of turmeric imports has triggered a new smuggling business and Sri Lanka’s Navy is kept busy nabbing smugglers.

“The stimulus provided through distribution of free fertilizer, raising the floor price of paddy to 50 rupees, striking off the debts of farmers, reconstructing thousands of irrigation tanks around the country, and the encouragement provided to home gardening and urban farming has revived the agriculture sector.”

He said industry has also been boosted. Sri Lanka has banned the import of batiks.

“We have not forgotten the importance of the industrial and service sectors in economic development,” President Rajapaksa said.

“The Government has taken action to encourage these sectors through the provision of tax incentives and by reducing interest rates.

“A great improvement is already visible in traditional handicrafts such as batik, cane, clay and jewellery through the state ministries that were established for this purpose.”

He said the Coronavirus crisis had proved that the need for domestic production.

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“An important lesson learnt by all nations faced with the prevailing global crisis has been the need for a strong domestic production base,” he said.

“This experience has further underscored the appropriateness and timeliness of our policy of strengthening domestic agriculture to ensure food security and self-sufficiency.” (Colombo/Feb04/2021)

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