Import tax on wheat flour to discourage consumption | Daily News

Import tax on wheat flour to discourage consumption

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera opening the relocated Agro Produce Sales Point at the Labuduwa Farm premises. South ern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva, Southern Province Governor Marshal Perera, Southern Agriculture Minister U. G.
Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera opening the relocated Agro Produce Sales Point at the Labuduwa Farm premises. South ern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva, Southern Province Governor Marshal Perera, Southern Agriculture Minister U. G.

The government will introduce an extra import tax on wheat flour to discourage its consumption, if there is a surplus paddy production this season, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.

“A bountiful paddy harvest is expected in the Yala season. Rice import has completely stopped,” he said.

He was participating in the inauguration of Dhakshina Krushi Navodaya, Agricultural Exhibition at the Labuduwa Farm in Galle, recently. The exhibition was organised by the Southern Provincial Agriculture Ministry.

“Our country is gifted with fertile land on which any kind of farming can be done. Fruits can be grown in any region. Nevertheless, we annually import 54,000 metric tons of fruits. Once, Bibile was famous for oranges. However, we spent Rs. 950 million to import oranges a year. Earlier, grapes were cultivated in Jaffna. However, we spend a massive amount - about Rs. 2,766 million - every year to import grapes. Meanwhile, we further spend Rs. 1,315 million for the importation of ginger and turmeric which can be easily grown in our country. Similarly, we bear a massive expenditure on the import of several food items which can be cultivated on our soil,” the minister said. “We need to stop this. We have to evolve a new national programme to cultivate crops that can be grown on our soil,” the minister said.

“Implementing a budgetary proposal, we have insured farmers growing maize, onion, potatoes, beans and green chilies island-wide. Accordingly, one hectare of cultivated land is insured for Rs. 100,000. However, the opposition alleges that the government has done nothing for the progress of agriculture. This is ridiculous,” he said.

He added that in the past, farmers faced many obstacles in selling their produce at reasonable prices. But during the past few months, we assured good prices for farmers’ produce, the minister said.

Referring to the recent progress of the Labuduwa Farm, the minister commended the officials and workforce for their dedicated and honest contribution towards transforming the once loss-making organisation into a cost-effective state farm.

Southern Province Governor Marshal Perera PC, Southern Province Agriculture Minister U.G. D. Ariyathilake and Galle District Parliamentarian Wijepala Hettiarachchi also spoke.


 

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