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* Sri Lanka farmers face drought, asked to reduce paddy cultivation
Sun, Apr 6, 2014, 11:41 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena says farmers have been asked to reduce their cultivation of paddy during the Yala season due to the drought.

The Minister says farmers may have to slash cultivation up to 50 percent during the Yala season, noting that the government would be unable to compensate a large number of farmers in the event that they face a crop failure. Farmers have reportedly been asked to cultivate crops that require less water like soya and big onions.

The Agriculture Ministry will hold a meeting with district secretaries on 21 April to decide on the extent of land that will be used for paddy cultivation and the water it will require. Meanwhile, the government will look at importing rice to meet the shortfall in the local market.

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