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Japan provides $4.6 mn. through FAO to boost paddy production in SL

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The Government of Japan through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is providing USD 4,629,629 to strengthen the production capacity of smallholder paddy farmers in identified districts of the Dry and Intermediate Zones of Sri Lanka.

Smallholder farmers are amongst the most vulnerable rural communities, predominantly cultivating rice for self-consumption. Lack of fertilizer over two consecutive seasons caused major yield drops forcing some farmers to undertake negative coping strategies (pawning, buying on credit, dipping into savings, etc.) to meet their food security and nutrition requirements.

Through the initiative, approximately 250,000 smallholder paddy farmers cultivating paddy on land holdings up to one hectare in identified districts of the Dry and Intermediate zones will receive up to 50kgs of urea fertilizer each for the upcoming Maha cropping season. The fertilizer will be provided free of cost and distribution will be carried out with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Development. The project will also provide smallholder paddy farmers with sensitization material on the efficient use of fertilizer to maximize production.

Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka – Mr. MIZUKOSHI Hideaki said, “We are pleased to announce that the Government of Japan has decided to provide additional humanitarian assistance to procure fertilizer, which is in short supply due to the shortage of foreign exchange. We hope that this support will improve food production capacity in Sri Lanka to pre-crisis levels, ensuring better livelihoods for smallholder farmers and stable access to essential food for all citizens across the country.”

Speaking on the initiative, Vimlendra Sharan, FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives stated, “As FAO we are working with our partners and advocating at every level to ensure that vulnerable farmers and fishers are able to continue their livelihoods. While the status of food security and nutrition in Sri Lanka is looking brighter, it may take three to four more cultivation seasons to fully recover. We thank the Government of Japan for supporting Sri Lanka in its recovery and have no doubt that the support provided will help boost production for 2023.”

Together with its partners, FAO in Sri Lanka is addressing urgent food security needs, protecting the livelihoods of vulnerable farmers and fishers in the most affected districts while promoting agriculture, including in urban settings.

(Excerpts : fao.org)

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Ceylon tea exports offset $60M of Sri Lanka’s fuel debt to Iran

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The Sri Lanka Tea Board announced yesterday that exports of Ceylon Tea have successfully offset a substantial portion of the country’s fuel bill owed to Iran, amounting to US $ 60 million.

Since 2011, Sri Lanka has accumulated an arrears of US $ 251 million for fuel imports from Iran.

Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Niraj De Mel said that the settlement was achieved, as exports of tea to Iran tripled during this period.

Facing financial challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic economic downturn, Sri Lanka struggled to meet its financial obligations to Iran, due to the foreign exchange shortages.

To resolve this issue, an agreement was reached between the two nations, focusing on settling outstanding debts through tea exports.

De Mel reported that tea exports to Iran from January to May 2024 totalled 4.98 million kilogrammes, a significant increase compared to 1.85 million kilogrammes exported during the same period in 2023.

(dailymirror.lk)
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff) 

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Sri Lanka to Host ICC Annual General Meeting, July 19-22

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In a statement, SLC mentioned that the mega cricket conference will bring together over 220 delegates from 108 ICC member countries from across the world, covering regions such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, East Asia Pacific, and Europe.

The pinnacle gathering of cricket administrators and stakeholders from around the globe, the ICC Annual Conference provides the platform for discussions on the strategic direction of the sport, governance, and the development of cricket worldwide, it added.

This year’s conference, themed “Capitalizing on the Olympic Opportunity,’ will discuss topics such as ‘Diversity and Inclusion,’ ‘environmental sustainability and the sport,’ and ‘Cricket’s triumphant return at LA28.

“This is a significant occasion for Sri Lanka, and we wish to warmly welcome the delegates from around the world to our beautiful island. We intend to use this conference to contribute to the future of cricket and showcase the beauty and heritage of our country to the world,” said Mr. Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

The annual conference will consist of a series of key meetings, workshops, and networking sessions, and key decisions will be taken for the benefit of the future of the game.

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Mervin Backs Wijeyadasa for President

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Former Sri Lankan Minister Mervin Silva is backing Minister (Dr) Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne, as potential candidates for President.

“This country needs a leader who can take it forward,” Silva asserted.

As election campaigns intensify, he highlighted the tendency of politicians to make extravagant promises. 

Drawing from his experience serving under Mahinda Rajapaksa, Silva recalled the distribution of various items, including material and undergarments, during campaigns. Despite these efforts, Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the election.

Similarly, Silva pointed out that Sajith Premadasa’s massive rallies at Galle Face Green did not secure victory. 

“We need a leader,” Silva emphasized, *”who can uphold law and order, enforce laws effectively, and collaborate with experts.”

In his opinion, Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stands out as the best candidate for the presidency. Silva also mentioned ongoing discussions with President’s Counsel Maithri Gunaratne.

“Deceitful politicians,” Silva concluded, “must be held accountable and sent home.”

newsfirst.lk

(This story, originally published by newsfirst.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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