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Seed imports stopped

24 September 2010 12:00 pm - 15     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Sandun A. Jayasekera

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has decided to put an end to the import of potato, vegetable and onion seeds immediately in a bid to promote local varieties. The import of seeds costs the government over Rs.1 billion annually.
 

Minister Yapa has appointed a Task Force to study the seed import process and make recommendations to produce 100% of the required seeds locally.
 

The Task Force is headed by Additional Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, G.A.M.S. Amitiyagoda.
 

Sri Lanka annually imports potato, red and big onion and vegetable (especially upcountry vegetable) seeds worth Rs. 400 million from the US, India, Netherlands, Thailand, Pakistan, Germany and Japan, Mr. Amitiyagoda said.
 

The Task Force is expected to conduct an investigation into the circumstances that led to the closing down of seeds producing centers, seeds selling centers, seeds stores and other establishments that are involved in seed production in the past and propose recommendations to re-activate them.
 

Mr. Amitiyagoda told Daily Mirror that Sri Lanka imports 10,000 metric tons of highbred potatoes seeds worth Rs. 50 million mainly from Thailand and Japan,75 metric tons of vegetable seeds worth Rs. 400 million from Netherlands and 35 metric tons worth Rs. 35 million of big onion seeds from
India.
 

In addition Sri Lanka imports corn seeds and bean seeds from the US, Germany and Pakistan.
 

“We have the potential to develop very high quality potatoes and vegetable seeds that suit our climate and soil that will bring high yields. The technical knowhow is also available. If we can reduce the seeds import budget in the next couple of years it will be highly beneficial to the economy and the agricultural sector,” Mr. Amitiyagoda said.

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  Comments - 15

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  • Tharaka Friday, 24 September 2010 03:13 PM

    Whats wrong with promoting local varieties. How spent billions of rupees developing and improving new breeds of crops. We have excess production of rice thanks to them. Dont talk without knowing the facts.

    Jason Saturday, 25 September 2010 12:49 PM

    Haha... Funny that the topic of discussion happens to be about seeds, and you are calling them 'nut cases'.

    sabara Saturday, 25 September 2010 01:49 PM

    I think still we have democracy here..govt is appointed by people..so they just do what people want..so no issues.. why should we dislike what they say or do...

    sabara Friday, 24 September 2010 04:28 PM

    just as the local variety of dengue bacteria..they will argue about the name to be given

    Faqi Friday, 24 September 2010 06:25 PM

    Sri Lanka is a tropical Island and we could produce our own high grade seeds if the Agriculture department take it upon themselves to do so. It has been neglected since our independence. We do not import any tea plants, they are all locally produced so are coconut seedlings. Every type of plant could be grown commercially in sri Lanka, but we have not done so due to the short sighted policies of our governments in trying to industrialize our economy and neglected the agricultural sector as its a long term project & not instant riches. .

    San Saturday, 25 September 2010 02:44 AM

    Dear TMA,

    Do you know that we import foreign seeds and we never can take any seeds from the harvest again? this means each time we need to import seeds. 1 Kg of pumpkin seeds costs around 30,000 LKR? So isn't it better to stop this nonsense at least now?

    sltk2004 Saturday, 25 September 2010 04:34 AM

    Just for the information: with 1Kg of pumpkin seeds, how many acres can we cultivate (or number of new plants can we get) ? And what will be yield of new cultivation ?

    Malli Saturday, 25 September 2010 06:00 AM

    Guys..are we going to invent Banana seeds too?

    Rajitha Saturday, 25 September 2010 06:23 AM

    good thinking at last

    TMA Friday, 24 September 2010 12:08 PM

    70's all over again. Doesn't he know we're short of food production?

    Katussa Friday, 24 September 2010 12:33 PM

    Go ahead, cut the cost of food to the poor. Never mind the billions wasted on foreign trips with hundred or more henchiyas and white elephants!!!

    eddie Saturday, 25 September 2010 08:29 AM

    most of you are nut cases. do you know nothing about sri lankan history? our island had an exemplary civilisation built on sophisticated irrigation systems. we created wealth on self sufficiency in the agricultural sector and exporting of unique produce. if we could do that 2,000 years ago, we can surely do it now with modern technology. agricultural self sufficiency is an objective in the usa, EU and japan, to name a few. the government is completely correct in attempting to achieve this goal.
    just because the policy comes from a government you don't like, it doesn't make the policy bad. criticise the corruption of the state, if you wish, but the policy itself is economically and historically sound.

    Yohan Friday, 24 September 2010 01:29 PM

    They should first prove that the seed can be locally in commercialy required capacities and quality and then ban it !!

    I Hussein Friday, 24 September 2010 01:38 PM

    Please promote Sweet Potatoes & Cassava and stop all other commodities. We deserve 70s poverty again. If not the hoodwinks wont open their eyes.

    Podi Guru Friday, 24 September 2010 02:22 PM

    Cassava is good but you can't just eat it and bhat.


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