July 12, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to increase the amount allocated for agricultural loans for the farmers up to Rs. 4 billion.
President Rajapaksa has made this decision at a meeting held in the Presidential Secretariat on Friday in response to a request made by farmer organizations.
Accordingly, the funds will be released to the relevant banks to issue loans to the farmers.
The meeting was called to obtain views and ideas from farmer organizations and trade union representatives to prepare the next year budget proposals.
Addressing the representatives, the President said the government policy is to upgrade the living conditions of local farmers and to strengthen their income and his government has taken measures to rejuvenate the local agriculture sector.
The President, focusing his attention on the problems of the drought stricken farmers in the dry zone, has instructed the officials to expedite the provision of government relief to the affected people in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Districts.
Among other issues discussed in depth were, the provision of fertilizer subsidy and seeds, and safeguarding the producers from higher taxes during the harvesting periods.
The President has also instructed the officials to take measures to eliminate illegal constructions in reserves of irrigational tanks.
(Photos by Sudath Silva)