Our farmers amidst severe hardships and untold sufferings and even braving natural disasters and kidney diseases work day and night to provide the nation with food, said President Maithripala Sirisena. Their lives should be made prosperous and dignified at any cost, he said and added Government's aim and plan is to boost the country's agriculture sector.
The President was participating at the 48th National New Rice Festival or Aluth Sahal Mangalyaya at the Anuradhapura sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Premises today (April 4).
President Sirisena added new rice to the huge gold plated bowl placed at the foot of Sri Maha Bodhi while the Maha Sangha performed religious observances. This followed hundreds of farmers coming from all parts from the island carrying the first portion of their paddy harvest offering them to the Sri Maha Bodhi.
President said the gap between Sri Lanka and the other developed countries has been created solely on the basis of poverty. He said that from the time of our ancient Kings the agriculture sector was the most demanding component in the country. During the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa eras the Kings with the countrymen converted the country into the granary of the East. They ushered self sufficiency within the framework of the spiritual advancement and on the advice and guidance of the Maha Sangha, the President said.
"Our Agricultural policies will be amended and revised to enable the farmer community to empower their livelihood. Agricultural development is required to be reinforced to gain prosperity splendor and glory as in the ancient times. Once the farmer is strengthened with stability it will ensure the country's overall development," President Sirisena said. He said many countries are labeled as highly developed have gained only physical development, extravagant and luxurious lifestyles, huge buildings, colossal projects, highways, comfortable housing, ample employment opportunities, super markets, etc. "But comparatively in our country, though we lack such enormous physical development, our people are spiritually rich, which the world accepts," he said. "That is our wealth. It is our national pride," the president reiterated.
"Steps should be taken to gain economic emancipation and prosperity for the farmer community as a priority," he emphasized.