Krushiseva Piyasa - a boon for farmers
By L.S. Ananda WEDAARACHCHI
People have shown a great deal of interest to cultivate fruits,
vegetables and food crops. The Agricultural and Agrarian Services
authorities should provide the necessary input to ensure enhanced
production said Agrolink Consultant and Seed Specialist Jayasiri
He holds a post Graduate Degree in Agronomy from the University of
Edinburgh, United Kingdom and functioned as a management consultant to
the Ambewela and Pattipola Livestock Company Sunday Observer interviewed
him on the "Krushiseva Piyasa" - "Agriculture Services Centre" project
launched by the Agriculture Development Ministry.
Excerpts of the interview:
Q: The 36th Agriculture Services Centre "Krushiseva Piyasa" was
launched at Katanawatta Road, Dankotuwa under your charge last month.
What are the objectives of this project.
A: "Krushiseva Piyasa" is a novel concept to assist people who maybe
fulltime farmers or engaged in cultivation on a part time basis. The
centres are open from the early hours till late night. Most of them who
visited "Krushiseva Piyasa" at Dankotuwa last month were on their way
home after office. People always need assistance, advice, and service to
ensure success in Agricultural ventures.
Seed farm in Nikaweratiya. Principal grower Luxman Wijewardena
and Chandana Premaratne
Q: There are over 550 Agrarian Services Centres in the Island today.
How will you justify the need for new institutions to supplement the
work of the Agrarian Services Centres.
A: Agrarian Services Centres launched by the former Agriculture
Minister, Hector Kobbekaduwa during the 1970s was a great success in the
context of promoting agriculture. Services provided by them such as
technical advice fertilizer, bank loans are totally inadequate in a
developing economy. Now the situation has changed and it has become more
complicated. The existing set up such as holding a 'people's day' once a
week and restricted office hours from 8 am to 4.30 pm in government
institutions cannot meet the increasing public demand in a fast
developing economy specially in the field of agriculture.
Q: How do you differentiate the new "Krushiseva Piyasa" from Agrarian
A: Advisory Services, seeds, fertilizer, plants can be obtained from
"Krushiseva Piyasa". Unlike other government institutions, it operates
from the early hours of the day till late evening similar to private
venture. The head of the "Krushiseva Piyasa" will be an Agriculture
Diploma holder or a graduate with professional capacity to run an
Q: There is an allegation that high quality seeds and plant materials
are not available in the market, your comments.
A: "Krushiseva Piyasa" will fill the gap. High quality seed, plant
material or any other items could be obtained from "Krushiseva Piyasa".
The seeds plant materials are supplied to "Krushiseva Piyasa" from the
Agriculture Department's seed and plant farms. We are also getting "Rose
and other flower plants from Welimada. Even field visits too to inspect
nurseries or cultivations will be handled. "Krushiseva Piyasa" staff
could make field visit s to nurseries when necessary.
Q: There was an acute shortage of vegetables and fruits in the
country recently. The Dambulla big onion cultivators suffered a severe
loss in their harvests due to the use of low quality big onion seeds
imported by a private supplier, your comments.
A: In the 1970s, Sri Lanka was self sufficient in paddy, vegetables,
or fruits, later some government farms were privatised when they were
functioning at a loss due to reasons such as poor management. Under the
liberalised economy the import of seed by the private sector witnessed
the decline of quality local production which in the end produced
negative results. The government has a major role to play in ensuring
agriculture development in the country.
Q: The existing system of having different officers to attend to the
multiple needs of the cultivators has proved inadequate. Don't you think
this should be changed to suit the convenience of cultivators?
A: It is wise to change the present system to facilitate cultivators
and farmers. There should be a flexible and viable system to cater to
the cultivators' needs. The new "Krushiseva Piyasa" will certainly do
away with bottle neck and red tape.
Q: You have considerable experience and knowledge in Agriculture and
Livestock Development, you have also studied in the UK`, the Netherlands
and Israel and have worked over three decades in the agriculture and
livestock sectors in Sri Lanka. Could you explain as to why Sri Lanka
imports essential food items such as sugar, milk powder, fruits, when
Sri Lanka is endowed with all natural resources to be self-sufficient in
A: Due to wrong decisions on the part of some politicians and
bureaucrats, Sri Lanka became a dependent country as far as agricultural
produce was concerned.
On wrong advice by some donor countries and some foreign agencies,
the government gave up important economic centres to the privata sector.
Most of the privatised farms and major industries failed to produce
the desired results. The major sugar factories such as Pelawatta,
Hingurana and Sevenagala could be cited as good example. India, China or
Malaysia did not follow the advice tendered by the West and Western
lending organisations blindly. Today they enjoy economic stability and
self-sufficiency. sri lanka can reach its targets as some sri Lankan
private sector ventures such as the telecommunications sector and the
garment sector have done. The Divineguma program launched by Economic
Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa will prove that this is possible.
Overall the government should ensure the use of all human and natural
resources to maximize productivity in the agricultural sector.