Apr 08, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has taken every possible measure to strengthen the agriculture sector and the farming community as the main factor for strengthening Sri Lanka's national economy and alleviate poverty is a strong agricultural economy, President Maithripala Sirisena says.
The President said the government during the last two years has taken many important decisions for the benefit of the farming community. He also said the government has released 700 million rupees to provide relief to the farmers affected by the drought.
Taking part in the "Aluth Sahal Mangalyaya" (new rice festival) held in front of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises in Anuradhapura this morning President Sirisena said the government has already implemented many plans to empower the living standard of farmers and praised the efforts of the farmers to make the country self-sufficient in rice.
The President said the Moragahakanda reservoir construction work that was suspended for five years was finished promptly resolving the water problem in some areas of the North-Central and Northern provinces.
He said that reconstruction work of another 1000 reservoirs has already begun to supply water necessary for the agricultural activities in the area.
The traditional New Rice Festival, held for the 50th time this year, celebrates the first harvest of the rice crop. During the ceremony, the first portion of the rice threshed from the first harvest of paddy in the Maha Season is offered to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.
Following the religious rituals at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, the President offered the first portion of the toxin-free rice threshed from the first harvest of paddy in the Maha Season to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. Many farmers across the country offered their first harvest following the ancient tradition existed from the kings' era.
At the occasion, divine blessings were invoked to make the country prosperous with fertile agriculture produce and timely occurrence of rains.
The President also distributed seed paddy to the selected farmers in all nine provinces for the cultivation in the forthcoming season to produce organic and health friendly paddy harvest.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Services under the auspices of Chief Incumbent of Atamasthanaya Venerable Pallegama Siri Nivasa Nayaka Thero.
Maha Sangha, Ministers Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha, Chandrani Bandara, P. Harrison, Chief Minister of North Central province Peshala Jayaratne and senior government officials participated in the occasion.