- Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:58
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Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that around two million families in Sri Lanka are engaged in farming as their main occupation.
Over 70 percent of the paddy lands belong to smallholders who own less than one hectare of land. The potential for agriculture to contribute to poverty alleviation is vast. The rural areas comprise 70-80 percent of the country.
Participating as chief guest at the inauguration ceremony of the 27th Technical Committee meeting of the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and Pacific (CIRDAP), held in Colombo last week, the Minister said that Sri Lanka is predominantly an agricultural country in which agriculture impinges on the life of every person in some form or the other, either as a producer, a consumer, or a person in the marketing chain or the service sector.
The Minister pointed out that agriculture and rural development policies, programs and projects are crucial for Sri Lanka's economic development and that the Ministries of Agriculture, Agrarian Services and Wildlife, Economic Development and Livestock and Community Development are the major ministries responsible for agriculture and rural development in Sri Lanka. The Agriculture Ministry implements most of the development programs at village level with the participation of the village community.
"Samurdhi, Divi Neguma, Gama Neguma, Pura Neguma, minor tanks and irrigation rehabilitation programme, provincial development programs are some of the major rural development and poverty alleviation programmes implemented by the government. Separate agricultural and rural development programmes have been launched in the nine provinces based on regional growth and development initiatives." The Minister further exaplained.