Feb 08, Colombo: The government will distribute pension payments to the farmers in the Northern Province from Monday under the new Farmers' Pension Scheme, an official said.
Paying pensions to the farmers in the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Manner, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya will commence on Monday, Director General of Agrarian Insurance Board Pandula Weerasinghe has said.
The official told the state-run radio that Rs. 178 million is needed monthly to pay the pension to the farmers under the new scheme which, according to the official, will be gazetted shortly.
The Treasury has allocated 2.51 billion rupees for the farmer pension scheme this year, according to the official.
The programme is being jointly launched by the Agricultural and Agrarian Insurance Board and the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
The President launched the new scheme from Hambantota District last month granting payments to 1,500 farmers in the district.
Pensions for 650 farmers in the Ratnapura district were awarded yesterday under the auspices of Agrarian Services Minister S.M. Chandrasena.
Eligible farmers in Kalutara, Galle and Matara districts will receive their pensions on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.
According to the Finance Ministry, 959,254 farmers nationwide have contributed to the scheme and 128,659 farmers who are more than 63 years of age are eligible to receive the pension from January this year.
Farmers over 63 years will receive a monthly pension of Rs. 1,000, while Rs. 1,250 will be given to the farmers aged 64 to 7o years. Farmers in the age group of 70-77 years will receive Rs. 2,000 while farmers over 78 years of age will get Rs. 3,000. If the recipient is diseased the pension will be given to his wife.
Director of Agrarian Insurance Board R.B. Wijeykoon said a social security scheme has also been introduced for the farmers in addition to the farmer pension scheme.