Sept 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Ministry of Agriculture has planned to cultivate more chilies to at least meet half of the yearly requirement locally.
Accordingly, the Ministry plans to cultivate Chilies in 16,000 hectares island wide and lands from the Northern Province, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Hambantota and Moneragala Districts have been earmarked for this purpose, head of the Chili Cultivation Division in the Ministry K N Kannangara has told the national radio.
Farmers say that the chili cultivation is threatened due to the high prices of necessary material such as seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides.
Sri Lanka Currently needs 45,000 metric tons of chili per annum but the annual production has declined to 10,000 metric tons. Most of the local production goes to the market as a vegetable while a major portion of the dried red chili is imported, mainly from India.
The Ministry aims to fulfill half of the need locally and import the rest. Sri Lanka spends about 5 billion rupees for importing chilies, the Ministry official added. The Ministry aims to decrease the expenditure by increasing local production.