In a measure to promote use of organic fertilizer for paddy cultivation, the government has decided to pay a higher price to the farmers for their paddy cultivated using organic fertilizers.
Participating in a development meeting yesterday in Polonnaruwa District, President Rajapaksa instructed the officials to educate the farmers on the environmental damages caused by excessive use of agro chemicals.
The President has instructed the relevant officials to take measures to encourage farmers who use organic fertilizers, the Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board K. B. Jayasinghe has told the state-run radio SLBC.
The government spends Rs. 40 billion per year for the fertilizer subsidy.
The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has purchased 108,000 metric tons of paddy in this Yale season paying 3.4 billion rupees to the farmers, the Chairman has said.
Provisions of the fertilizer subsidy, the government's programme of protecting the farmers, and providing a fixed price for paddy, have contributed for the bumper paddy crops, the government says.
According to the PMB Chairman, high quality paddy harvests will be milled and the rice will be exported. Stocks of high quality rice have already been exported to United Arab Emirates and several South African countries.
The government expects to expand the international market opportunities for Sri Lankan rice, a move that will motivate the Sri Lankan farmers to produce more export quality rice.