Seed imports for seven crops to be restricted

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Agriculture Ministry is to focus on restricting the importation of seeds of seven crops that can be produced locally, from next year, The Morning learnt. 

The Agriculture Ministry, in a media statement, has announced that the import of seeds for potato, big onion, red onion, chillie, undu, maize, and peanuts will be restricted from 2022 onwards. 

During a meeting held at the Agriculture Ministry yesterday (14), Agriculture Department Director General Dr. Ajantha de Silva has also stated that the import of chillie seeds could be halted entirely by 2024, and that the import of seeds for potato and big onion could be limited to 35% and 30%, respectively, by 2024.

The statement further read that the programme to produce the above crop seeds in Sri Lanka is currently being implemented successfully. According to it, the Chillie Seed Production Village in Nawalapitiya has so far produced about 1,500 kg of hybrid chillie seeds, while big onion seeds are being produced in Dambulla.

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, early this month, instructed the National Seed Council (NSC) to formulate a programme to regulate the prices of all seeds produced locally and imported into the country. 

During a meeting of the NSC at the Agriculture Ministry on 2 December, he claimed that certain traders were selling 50 g of imported seeds for between Rs. 5,000-6,000. Taking into account the matter, he has instructed the NSC to take action to regulate the prices of seeds produced locally and imported, as farmers are being exploited on a large scale due to such. 

Speaking further at the time, he said that all farms owned by the Agriculture Department should be used for seed production based on accurate information on the need for seeds in the country. “The process of producing required seeds in the country itself should be expedited. The responsibility to implement it lies with the Agriculture Department and the NSC,” added Aluthgamage.