The Maldives has requested Sri Lanka for assistance in several agricultural areas towards achieving food security in the island nation. This was expressed by the visiting Maldivian Minister of Defense and National Security Col. (ret) Mohamed Nazim when he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday (July 9) afternoon.
Col. Nazim described to the President some of the hardships experienced by the Maldivian population due to inadequate supplies and high prices of some agricultural products such as rice and certain vegetables.
President Rajapaksa indicated that Sri Lanka may be able to assist Maldives meet their rice requirement and also urged the Maldivian government to encourage the people to engage in home gardening that could help families address their individual food needs.
Col. Nazim also indicated that, given the good bilateral ties between the two countries, it might be useful to conduct exchange programs for Maldivian agriculturalists to learn from Sri Lankan experts.
Principal Director International Defence Cooperation Lt. Col. Ibrahim Hilmy, High Commissioner of the Maldives to Sri Lanka Mr. Hussain Shihab and Defence Advisor to Sri Lanka Lt. Col. Mohamed Mukthar accompanied the defense minister.
Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Karunatilaka Amunugama were also present.