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Probe ordered on $ 293 Mn ‘local’ veggies/yams import

Probe ordered on $ 293 Mn ‘local’ veggies/yams import

24 Nov 2023 | BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Ministry of Agriculture has ordered the Department of Agriculture to conduct an immediate investigation and provide a report regarding the alleged importation of several types of vegetables and yams that can be grown locally at a cost of $ 293 million.

An official of the ministry told The Daily Morning that a parliamentarian had recently claimed that several types of vegetables and yams, including taro (kiri ala), had been imported at a cost of $ 293 million.

Considering the allegation, he said that Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera had instructed the department to investigate into the alleged incident and provide him with a report immediately.

With the country seeing a substantial shortage of foreign currency reserves due to the prevailing economic crisis, the Government has been limiting imports to the fullest extent possible. The State Ministry of Finance recently stated that while the country had to spend $ 1.950 billion on imports in 2019, a sum of $ 1.698 billion of that amount could be saved by last year (2022) due to the restriction on the import of approximately 82% of commodities that are imported.

Amaraweera recently assured farmers that the Government would not approve the import of any vegetable that can be grown in Sri Lanka. Pointing out that it is the National Plant Quarantine Service under the ministry that issues quarantine clearances with regard to the import of vegetables, fruits, meat, and eggs, he said that no vegetable that could be grown locally would be allowed to be imported.  

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