Paddy fields, farms destroyed; food crisis inevitable!

It has been revealed at a discussion held at the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday (15) that approximately 75,000-100,000 hectares of paddy lands have been damaged due to the adverse weather conditions.

The worst affected areas are in Puttalam, Anuradhapura and other districts and about 300 hectares of paddy lands in the Southern Province have also been affected.

In addition, the discussion revealed that 7,000 hectares of vegetable farms have been significantly damaged.

The discussion was held with Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Director General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha de Silva, Commissioner of Agrarian Development, representatives of the Agriculture Insurance Board and all Deputy Commissioners of Agrarian Services to take immediate action to provide relief to farmers whose crops have been damaged due to inclement weather.

The Minister said that the flood affected lands will be fully inspected by the Agriculture Insurance Board and compensation will be paid for the completely damaged paddy lands and the government will provide seeds and fertilizers for the damaged vegetables and other crops to assist in replanting.

The Minister also instructed the Agrarian Development Department to prepare and submit estimates for subsidies including seed paddy and organic fertilizer required for the re-cultivation of paddy in the damaged paddy lands.

The Minister of Agriculture has also instructed the Agriculture Insurance Board and the Department of Agriculture to take steps to assess the damage and provide relief.

Higher compensation for paddy lands ready for harvesting

Agrarian Development Divisional Officers had informed the Minister during the discussion that the damage could not be properly assessed due to the prevailing rain in some districts.

If a paddy land is completely damaged, a maximum compensation of Rs. 40,000 per acre will be paid, said Attorney-at-Law Premachandra Epa, Chairman of the Agriculture Insurance Board.

He also said that the compensation would be paid for paddy lands were damaged prior to two weeks of the harvest.

If the paddy fields have been damaged within a month of the commencement of paddy cultivation, the Agrarian Insurance Board will pay between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000 and in addition the Ministry of Agriculture will provide seed paddy and fertilizer free of charge.

According to market sources, there is a possibility of rice and vegetable prices increasing as well as the possibility of vegetable shortages in the market due to the impact of the inclement weather.

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