President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (July 14) said that the era in which the people were waiting for flour stocks from abroad has ended and the people have today adopted a habit of consuming more rice instead of flour based products.
"There was an era in the country where people were waiting for flour to eat bread," he said.
The President added that people have adapted themselves to eating rice and the country has become self-sufficient in rice, maize and many other crops.
The President was speaking at the opening of fruit exhibition held at the Fruit Crops Research and Development Centre at Kananwila, Horana.
This exhibition was organized by the Agriculture Ministry in parallel to the Fruit Promotion Week from July 14- 21.
The objective of this program is to increase fruit consumption among the public.
The President was presented oranges grown by the Institute by Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
The President was also presented a number of high yielding fruit plants developed by the institute.
President Rajapaksa further said that the Fruit Crops Research Development Centre in Horana, popularly known as Kananwila farm and the Sri Lanka Customs Building complex was to be sold for a song to the private sector by the UNP regime.
The President said that the Paddy Research Institute in Bombuwala, Kalutara where hundreds of youths were tortured during the 1988 - 90 period by the then Government was planned to be sold to a private party.
The President said that his Government abandoned the policy of selling State properties to make a fast buck.
The President added that the country has become self-sufficient in rice, maize and many other crops, fruit varieties grown in the country, such as, Rambutan, Anoda and Ceylon Olive (Veralu) have attracted special attention from the public.
"Our children should eat more fruits a day," he said.
The President said that the people did not understand the value of indigenous products and asked as to why the people are consuming fruits imported from abroad when fresh fruits grown in the country are easily available.
"We should be proud of our village, country and products," the President said.
The President stressed what the Government wanted to bring the beauty of the village to the city and the facilities enjoyed by the city dwellers are being brought to the village. He said that development which was once centered to a province has been taken to all parts of the country.
Our civilization is enriched and closely intertwined with agriculture. It enriched our culture, literature and the irrigation, the President added.