President instructs to develop grass-root level national program for agri modernization

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed relevant officials to develop a national program integrating public and private sectors for successful agriculture modernization initiative.

The President highlighted that despite annual budget allocations at national, provincial and local levels, the separate operations of public and private institutions have led to delays in achieving desired outcomes. 
He underscored the importance of garnering support from both public and private agricultural research institutes, along with the university system, to address the challenges encountered in implementing this program.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe conveyed these sentiments during the progress review meeting of the Agriculture Modernization Program, convened at the Presidential Secretariat recently.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe also emphasized the necessity of formulating a national program that aligns with government policies and can be effectively implemented at the grass-root level.

Furthermore, he instructed the relevant officials to initiate the 26 related projects promptly.

The President elaborated that addressing this challenge requires a collaborative effort involving both the public and private sectors, as well as small and medium-scale agricultural entrepreneurs. The President reiterated his ultimate intention to establish an agricultural export economy.

Senior Professor Gamini Senanayake briefed the President on the progress of the Agriculture Modernization Project, emphasizing that its implementation should elevate agriculture to a commercial level, safeguard agro-biodiversity and promote land ownership among individuals involved in agricultural activities.

He expressed the expectation of establishing a Cabinet Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of the President to address various obstacles and limitations arising in the implementation of the agriculture modernization program. 

Senior Professor Gamini Senanayake, noting the commencement of pilot projects in 26 Divisional Secretariats across all 25 districts, mentioned that each Divisional Secretariat has been allocated LKR 25 million for agricultural modernization projects. Furthermore, he highlighted that project proposals have already been received from all the selected divisional secretariats.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff, Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation, B.L.A.J. Dharmakeerthi, Secretary of the Ministry of Irrigation, Saman Darshana Padikorala, Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, K.N .Kumari Somaratne, Secretary of the Ministry of Technology, Dr. Dharma Sri Kumaratunga, Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration Home Affairs Provincial Councils and Local Government, Pradeep Yasaratne, Chief of Defence Staff, General Shavendra Silva and others, including heads of line ministries, departments and representatives from the private sector engaged in the agricultural sector including Mr. Dudley Sirisena, participated in this discussion.