The Government gives priority to build a local economy based on Agriculture, said President Maithripala Sirisena. He emphasized that the Government is bound to strengthen the public and the private sectors.
The President said this while taking part at the Cargills “Sarubima Farmers’ Awards Ceremony”, held at the BMICH in Colombo yesterday (April 19). He presented awards for 18 farmers for their vegetable and dairy products. Two hundred students were awarded scholarships for higher education under the Cargills Farmer Welfare Fund. Medical insurance also was given to 500 farmers.
The President emphasized that the Government is committed to provide necessary inducements to the private sector in line with the strengthening of the state sector. He said that similar to the priority being given for strengthening the state administration and the management, encouragement and sponsorship will also be given to the private sector to bring in investments and strengthening the market.
He said that there is a big gap between the agriculture specialists and the farmers of this country and this gap should be narrowed. The President emphasized that while protecting the traditional agricultural methods, the modern technology and expertise should be amalgamated to it.
President Sirisena pointed out that the farmers should take steps to produce what is needed by the market utilizing new technology and expert knowledge while protecting traditional agricultural methods.
President Maithripala Sirisena commended the "Saru Bima" programme of the "Cargills", noting that the initiative amply showcased the deep rooted interest the company has for the lives of the farmers and the well being of their families.
The company famous for its "Food City" supermarket chain, the President pointed out has gone beyond just mere business interest to help farmers improve their livelihoods in economically meaningful, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible ways.
"The company through their direct engagement with farmers throughout the country has not only contributed immensely to uplift the agricultural sector, but, has also been able to establish closer ties between communities of varying backgrounds. As a government this is what we expect and strive to achieve, building closer links between communities and people irrespective of differences," he added.
At the event, President Sirisena awarded 18 vegetable and dairy farmers from across Sri Lanka the Cargills Saru Bima Farmer Citizen's award.
The occasion also saw over 200 students receiving Scholarships towards higher education while 500 farmers received medical insurance policies.
The President in the company of Cargills Chairman Louis Page and Deputy Chairman Ranjith Page also launched the "Cargills Saru Bima Fund" throughout the company's vegetable, fruits and milk collection centres, island wide. The fund earlier was confined to just 15 centres.
The Fund is sustained by allocating 50 cents from each kilogram of fruits, vegetables or a litre of milk the company buy from farmers. On a daily basis "Cargills" buys 80,000 Kg of fruits and vegetables as well as 90,000 litres of milk. The President said "Cargills" has contributed to taking modern Agri-technologies to the village in addition to propagating safe agriculture by deterring farmers from using harmful agro-chemicals.
The President also praised the initiatives taken by Cargills to maintain a price balance between the producer and the consumer by resorting to the direct purchase of agricultural produce from the farmers.