President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday focused on the possibility of creating a new mechanism by combining all districts in the country to purchase, store and distribute agro products.
The Government Agents were encouraged to take this mechanism forward by the President at a meeting with the District Secretaries held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.
The cooperation extended by the District Secretaries for the success of measures taken to control the spread of COVID-19 was commended by the President. President explained the steps taken so far and the current situation regarding coronavirus prevention activities, the PMD said.
The fact that those who are identified as infected on a daily basis are either from quarantine centres or from isolated areas is a testimony to the success of the efforts of combating the virus, President pointed out.
“The Government is gradually easing curfew restrictions in order to restore normalcy in civilian life. Economic revival is the aim of the Government. The national economy has to be strengthened while giving priority to the agriculture sector to achieve this objective,” it said.
“Also, attention should be paid to develop indigenous industries and other production sectors at district level. President emphasised the necessity of encouraging entrepreneurs by providing necessary assistance.”
Attention was also drawn to the importance of establishing an institute similar to Fisheries Corporation to purchase agro products. It was agreed to formulate a practical methodology to promote recommendations of the researches conducted by the Post-Harvest Institute among the public and the farmers and their implementation.
Given the prevailing situation, many tend to sell agro products purchased from farmers directly to the customers. The Government Agents pointing out benefits of this system said this has helped both the farmer and the consumer. They also emphasised the importance of developing a legal structure to strengthen this process.
The Government Agents also pointed out the necessity of setting up cold rooms and storages.
The importance of encouraging farmers to cultivate uncultivated lands with the support of security forces and prison inmates and cultivating other crops in the close proximity to paddy fields was also discussed.
Increasing rubber production, promotion of local industries including textile, dairy products and the development of several other sectors were discussed in length.
Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Cabinet Secretary S. Amarasekara, Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Public Administration Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi, Health Ministry Secretary Bhadrani Jayawardene, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne were also present.