A Better Green Leaf Harvest Through Soil and Water Conservation in Line with a New Budget Proposal 2014 made by H.E. the President
The inaugural ceremonies to implement the programme for granting the subsidy of Rs.5000/- per acre annually to the tea smallholders for water and soil conservation in tea lands, as proposed by H.E. the President under the Budget Speech 2014 in order to develop the plantation economy while strengthening the tea smallholders were held on 11th January 2014 in Galle, Matara and Kalutara Districts on the invitation of Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries, under the patronage of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, with the participation of Hon. Earl Gunasekara, Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Hon. Ministers and Members of Parliment. In parallel, this programme is scheduled to be launched in other Districts as well. Accordingly, its inaugural ceremony was held on 17.01.2014 in Kandy District.
In addition to the Government subsidy granted to the tea small holders for new planting, replanting, infilling and fertilizer, a subsidy of Rs.5000/- per acre is granted annually for water and soil conservation. Through this programme, it is primarily envisaged to improve soil condition of the lands of tea small holders who make a significant contribution to the economy of the country, regularize the application of fertilizer and optimize the water conservation. The final result is to enhance the productivity and uplift living standard of the tea small holders thereby.
New Concessions to the Plantation Sector through Budget 2014
His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed several concessions to the plantation sector through the budget 2014 which he presented to the Parliament on 21.11.2013.
1. New subsidy of Rs. 5000.00per hectare per year will be introduced to improve soil and water conservation methods in small tea lands.
2. Value added products and utilisation of the cess funds to promote value addition will be strengthened in tea and rubber sub sectors.
3. A comprehensive assessment of under-performing plantation companies will be undertaken.
4. A special credit scheme with the interest rate of 6% per annum and 08 years maturity will be introduced for plantation companies which are interested in investing for replanting, welfare of laborers and value addition of tea. The relevant banks will be encouraged to allocate Rs. 500 million for this purpose.
5. Provision of existing leases will be suitably amended incorporating new conditions necessary to ensure the development of the sector
Chairmanship of the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka was selected uncontested recently to the Chairmanship of Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) for next year by the member countries of the Association.
The Association established in 1970 by the natural rubber producing countries acts in mutual cooperation for sustainable development of the global natural rubber industry and plays a massive role to fetch a higher price for natural rubber, resolve issues in the sector and exchange modern technology among member countries.
The member countries of the ANRPC - Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam account for about 93% of the global production of natural rubber.
Annual sessions of Association were held from 08th to 13th October 2013 at Hotel Galadari, Colombo and the inauguration of the session was held on 08th October under the patronage of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development. Around 107 foreign delegates and 200 local delegates participated at the Annual Rubber Conference held on the first day. A delegation headed by Mrs. Sudharma Karunaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Industries representing Sri Lanka participated at the sessions attend by the government officials of the member countries. Sri Lanka was resolved unanimously to the office of the Chairmanship of the ANRPC by all member countries at the General Assembly of the Association held on 12th October 2013.
Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Hon. Earl Gunasekara, Deputy Ministry of Plantation Industries had discussions with the foreign delegates participated at the session regarding the matters pertaining to the sustainable development of the global natural rubber industry.