PM directs Rs. 100 m to North for palmyrah development | Daily News


PM directs Rs. 100 m to North for palmyrah development

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed the National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs Ministry to develop the province’s palmyrah industry with a special allocation of Rs 100 million, Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy told the Daily News yesterday.

The move to boost the flagging Northern industry comes in the wake of the Premier’s recent visit to the province.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe directed authorities in the Northern Province to take necessary action to boost the industry with the objective of increasing exports of palmyrah-based jaggery and other related sap products, which while enjoying high demand in the island, are also much sought-after by the Tamil diaspora, said Sivagnanasothy.

The Premier also emphasised the need to take urgent measures to revitalise and strengthen over 7,500 members in Palm Development Cooperative Societies in the Northern Province to realise the full economic potential of the industry, he said.

Explaining how the Ministry is planning to maximise the production from palmyrah, Sivagnanasothy said they have stepped up action following the directives of the Prime Minister to set up a modern jaggery plant, a sweet toddy bottling facility, a toddy bottling plant, a sugar candy production facility, and jaggery centres in the Northern districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaitivu.

Some projects have already been implemented. The Ministry has also been directed to address the issue of the number of tappers which has declined due to inadequate income from tapping and social stigma, he said.

“The tapping community which is the worst affected by the lack of attention on the industry would realise benefits in due course with sap-based value-added products to be introduced in line with the new development objectives,” Sivagnanasothy said.

“During the Prime Minister’s visit, the members of the Palm Development Societies expressed their concern on the need to support their economic and livelihood activities,” he said. “It is they who requested for a toddy bottling plant to preserve the excess toddy and to cater to the market during the off-season.” 

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