July 07, Colombo: The Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera says that his ministry has devised a comprehensive program to renovate over 13,000 old small tank system in the country and a sum of Rs. 9 billion has been allocated for the project.
According to the Minister, since these small tanks have not been renovated for many years, many of them cannot be used properly for farming due to several reasons including insufficient water capacity, silt buildup and weakening of the tank levees.
He made this statement addressing a meeting with all the officials of the institutions in the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday (05).
Minister of Agriculture said during the discussions with the farmers, they have requested the government to restore the small tanks in their villages.
Considering their requests the Ministry of Agriculture has launched the "1000 tanks - 1000 villages" under the President's Gramashakthi program. The restoration work have already begun and the government has allocated Rs. 9 billion for the restoration of over 13,000 tanks.
Under the "1000 tanks - 1000 villages" program 1000 small reservoirs will be restores this year. Also steps have been taken to provide all facilities to farmers including uplifting the agricultural activities, microfinance loan facilities, development of Wanatha and Kattakaduwa, plant saplings, and provide seedlings to all farmers.
Minister Amaraweera said that there is no other government which has provided relief to the farming community like this government.
The government has allocated to Rs. 5,228 million to provide free crop insurance to farmers at Rs. 100,000 hectare for crop damage and Rs. 33 billion for fertilizer subsidy. Furthermore, the imported agriculture equipment have been exempted from import tax.
The Minister said the government is committed to provide relief to the farmers. The Secretary to the Ministry, Mr. B. Wijeratne was also present.