President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that the Government will formulate a national policy and strategies to stop brain drain and obtain the services of research workers for the economic development of the country.
He said that the persons employed in the plantation sector are dwindling and a challenge is ahead of the country to increase the workforce in the sector from 2.5 million to three million.
The President said that research workers in the coconut, sugarcane, rubber and tea sectors can make more contributions to boost the country’s economy through their research.
President Rajapaksa was of the view that research institutes in the Coconut, Rubber, Tea and Sugarcane sectors have won international acclaim and their expertise has been sought by foreign countries too.
He said that the Government will take steps to promote more research in the plantation crop sector.
The President was speaking at the inauguration of 5th symposium of Plantation Crop Research organized by the sugarcane, coconut, rubber and tea research institutes at the BMICH. This symposium will conclude tomorrow. The President said that this symposium creates a common platform for the research workers representing various plantation crop research institutes to share their expertise. He said that these scientists have set an example to other institutions in the country too by discussing their research findings in a common forum.
The President rewarded the scientists for their researches on this occasion.
Sri Lanka inherited a rich technology in the past in almost all sectors including irrigation, agriculture and architecture. He said that Sri Lanka was projected to the world as a nation which lacks morality after the country became a colony of the imperialists.
“The imperialists made us slaves,” he said. The President added that Sri Lanka has been posting an economic growth of nearly 8 per cent. “I read a report which says that Sri Lanka has secured the second place in terms of the economic growth rate in the world,” he said. The President added that the Plantation sector contributed immensely to the economic growth of the country.
Sri Lanka has to spend Rs.60 billion annually for the import of its sugar requirement. This is an unbearable burden to the Government. He said that the Government proposed to bring 130,000 hectares under sugarcane cultivation by the last budget with an intention of promoting the local sugar production.
The President insisted that the Pelwatta and Sevanagala factories were taken over by the government in response to the pleas made by the public. Some elements are trying to propagate an opinion that these factories were brought under Government control to take political revenge, he said. He said that these factories were taken over by the government to address the grievances of the people and these factories have strengthened the national economy too.
The President said that small scale rubber cultivators in Kalutara, Matugama and Galle are affected by heavy rainfall. The small scale rubber cultivators complained to me that they cannot tap more rubber trees a day due to heavy rain and the rain coats introduced by the authorities through research work have become ineffective. He stressed that the authorities should introduce a more effective method for these cultivators to tap the rubber trees even in heavy rain.