Sept 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka plans to increase the extent of cocoa cultivation in the hill areas of the island and a proposal put forward by the Minister of Minor Export Crop Promotion Reginald Cooray to proceed with the program has received the Cabinet's approval.
Cultivation of cocoa, which was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British in 1834, has been established as a mixed crop with rubber and coconut in Matale of the Central Hills and Uva Wellassa areas in Sri Lanka.
A new rubber cultivation programme that is underway in 5,000 hectares in the Uva Province has created a favorable environment to commence growing cocoa as a mixed crop.
The project aims to ensure the maximum utilization of existing lands while maintaining ecological balance in the respective zone to increase the extent of cocoa cultivation up to 3,000 hectares and the cocoa harvest up to 5,550 metric tons by 2020.
The program will proceed with the close collaboration ofthe Ministry of Plantation Industries and the Rubber Development Department.