Farmers had been instructed by the Ministry of Agriculture to stop cultivating Maize for three months.
Director General of Agriculture Dr. M.W. M. Weerakoon on Saturday (26), said that this decision had taken as a step to control the spread of the Sena Dalambuwa (Fall Armyworm). As a result of this directive farmers will not be able to cultivate Maize until the Sinhala/ Hindu New Year in April.
The Agriculture DG further said that while 10000 hectares of Maize was expected to be cultivated in the upcoming Yala Season 82000 hectares had been cultivated during the Maha Season. Around 320,000 Metric Tonnes of Maize was expected this year but a sizeable portion of crops was thought to have been destroyed due to Fall Armyworm infestation that had blighted many parts of the country where Maize is grown.
He said in Sri Lanka about 330,000 Metric Tonnes of Maize would be harvested per year mainly in the Mahaweli Zone and in the districts of Anuradhapura, Ampara, Monaragala and Kurunegala.
As the local consumption of Maize was around 400,000 tonnes a year, around 100,000 tonnes of maize are imported per year for the production of animal food as the local production is not sufficient. After cultivating the Maize, it usually takes about three and a half months to yield a harvest, he said. (Ranjan Kasthuri )