President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has advised the relevant government officers that Sri Lanka should meet its turmeric demand locally, Minister of Highways and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando said yesterday.
Minister Fernando said the government has imposed a ban on importing turmeric in order to safeguard the local farmers.
“Prices of turmeric range from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000 a kilo currently. The President had advised the relevant officers that Sri Lanka should produce turmeric locally without relying on importation. Some question us as to why the government does not import turmeric and end the shortage. If we allow it the importers will bring down large consignments and stock them. They will release the stocks during the harvest time. This situation discourages the local growers. This makes the local industry to fall,” the Minister said.
“Government intends developing 100,000 kms of road and to construct a few new expressways. These could be used to take the local produce to the market. We will introduce stable prices for agricultural products. We intend to curtail imports and produce essential goods locally. Our intention is to make Sri Lanka self sufficient in essential food items,” he added.
“It will be possible to reduce the expenditure incurred for importation of wheat flour and produce maize as a substitute crop,” he also said.
On a different note Mr. Fernando said the government has already taken steps to change the interest rates in order to help those who live on bank interests such as senior citizens. (Yohan Perera)