Speech 30

posted on: 30-09-2012

(Mr.Chamal Rajapaksa)

Honourable Deputy Chairman, the Ministry of Livestock Development and Rural Industries can be considered as a Ministry which contributes towards the uplifting and strengthening of the economy of the rural people. For that, during last year important polices and decisions have been taken by the Ministry. Many people will receive job opportunities since the two sections of this ministry go hand in hand with this rural agricultural economy Likewise, there are the possibilities to increase avenues of income.

Sri Lanka Handicraft Industries Centre, Sri Lanka National Technical Commission (Sri Lanka JaathikaShilpaSabhaawa) and the Sri Lanka National Design Centre are administrated under this Ministry. Out of these 3 the district which I represent receives a very few services. So here I have the question that, are these 3 institutions limited only for town areas or are they limited to only some areas? But we are happy that the honourable Minister has decided to re-organize these 3 units in order to get better results. We can take steps to develop the ancestral handicraft and small scale products at a regional level in the villages and we should also provide facilities for them to increase the quality of the products. We should take steps to give them the knowledge about technology and should also provide them with an appropriate market place. If so, we will be able to uplift these industries.

I recently visited the village of Agulmaduwa in Beliatta.This village is famous for handicrafts and also for the Brass and Laaksha industry. They are now being administrated by the Provincial Council. There is also a school maintained by the Department of Small Industries while there is also a factory that was built by spending a huge cost. But now it has become totally useless for the people in the area. This is the fault of the Consultants. The consultants in that area don’t join with the youth and they don’t cooperate with thepeople who are involved in these industries.Hence, it is of no use for the village people. Therefore the youth of Agulmaduwa are even drawing away from these industries. So I request the Hon. Minister to pay attention to the short comings of the villages in order to develop these industries. I would also like to mention that if we find ways to develop these industries, many unemployed members in the villages will be able to find employment.

Likewise, a vital aspect of an agricultural economy is livestock development. I understand that under the new government, livestock development is separated in to 8 units. This division may be the reason for the rapid development of this industry. The Ministry of Livestock Development and Rural Industry has again beendivided as local and foreign trade,commerce and food department, government administration, internal affairs and plantation industries ministry. Furthermore it has also been divided into provincial councils. I believe that if we work according to a national policy we will be able to have some progress on this issue.

By 1977 the import of milk powder catered to only 20% of our requirement. But today 80% of required milk powder or in other words 40,000-42,000 metric tons of milk powder are imported. We can put a stop to this unsatisfactory situation if these separated units of the department work together to implement a national policy.

In 1978 and 1984 funds were given by the Asian Developing Bank for the development of livestock.Although a kind of development and progress took place during that time, because of the wastage of money or in other words because of spending money for unnecessary things, we have been unable to take the maximum use of it. It is mentioned in this report that for 6 years from 1997, funds will be given to us by the Asian Developing Bank. Hence, I request to take the past experiences as a lesson and order the management of the finances in a proper manner.

When talking about milk production, since 1930 we have carried out milk productionthrough the establishment of co-operative committees. But India who started the “Amul” business in 1946 now has taken the second place in the milk producing countries of the world. But it is clear that we have actually stepped backward now from the past situation. If honest dedication is there I am positive that we can get rid of this terrible unhappy situation and will be able to develop milk production. Today India has this much developed situation in milk production because of their honest dedication. We can make this happen in our country too. They call it the “White Revolution”. Today the Youth of our country are organizing revolts and revolutions secretly by taking weapons into their hands. Therefore if this Ministry can provide them with milk cows, we too will be able to focus their attention on to a “White Revolution”. Under the Asian Development Bank fund we can take steps to develop the milk production in districts like Hambantota, Monaragala, Ampara, Pollonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala.There may be some obstacles, but we need to be able to avoid them.

I visited the poultry farms in the Anuradhapura district which are administrated and maintained undertheMahaweli Development Authority by the Livestock division. I realized that the main problem of those involved in the production side was the inability of selling the products for a fair price due to the rising production costs caused by the price increase of animal food.Therefore, there should be the ability to control such circumstances. (Disturbance)

The Ridiyagama farm also belongs to the National Livestock Board. The farm has a land area of about 5000 acres. But only 75% of this land is used. Vast area of this land is covered by the forest. If we train the youth in the area on animal husbandry, and donate at least one acre of land to each of them, establish villages for animal husbandry and give them animals like cattle, goats and chickens we can bring them up to generate a good income. Today they have arranged to cut the valuable ‘’palu’’ trees to try to minimise the loss of that farm. When the trees were being cut, the people in the village conducted a protest, opposing the cutting down of trees. According to my knowledge the issue has been sorted out by the intercession of the Deputy Minister of Livestock Development and Rural Industry. We cannot approve the destroying of existing resources in order settle the losses. If we work efficiently we will be able to make better use of this farm.Therefore I request to hand over the 3000-4000 acres of land which are covered by forests to the youth for animal husbandry and milk production.

I should say that the cattle owners who produce milk in HambantotaDistrict have a big problem. Many lands of that area belong to the Wildlife Department and paddy fields and businesses have also been established. These cattle owners have been faced with big problems from the Moneragala District as well with the order to take back the cattle that was brought from that area. I request the attention of the Hon. Minister to make some decisions to provide them with some relief. The cattle owners and the people involved in producing milk also have the problem of others stealing their cattle. I request the attention of the Hon. Minister to take steps to establish cattle auctioning centres so they can carry on their self-employment, and get some relief.

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