The State Minister of Plantation Industries, Hon. Lohan Ratwatte and the State Minister of Technology, Hon. Kanaka Herath declared opening of the first model office of the island wide Office network of the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority on 01.11.2022 and it is intended through this project to formalize the institutional affairs for the convenience of planters and to have all planter requirements met under one shelter.


The State Minister of Plantation Industries, Hon. Lohan Ratwatte mentioned that every possible measure would be taken in association with the Minister of Plantation Industries, Hon. Ramesh Pathirana to provide the public with the maximum relief and services through the institutes belonging to his Ministry for the welfare and convenience of the public and take the essential policy based decisions expeditiously notwithstanding the severe economic crisis encountered by the country. Further, it was mentioned that action would be taken to start this type of ‘One Stop Shop’ network island wide which is able to be established at other institutional levels through the Ministry of Plantation Industries. The State Minister also emphasized that this would ease public matters and reduce waste of time.


The construction activities have been commenced one year ago according to a proposal made by the then State Minister of Plantation, Hon. Kanaka Herath under the full supervision of the Minister of Plantation Industries, Hon. (Dr.) Ramesh Pathirana. The Ministry of Plantation Industries had incurred the cost of Rs.50 million for its construction activities.
At the same time, as a token of appreciation, the State Minister handed over the equipment kits which are delivered to the tea small holders by the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority.

This opening ceremony was graced by Parliamentarians representing the district of Kegalle and the politicians of the area as well as officers including the Chairman of the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority and a number of beneficiaries.

The “Gedaratama Pol Gewaththen” project is operated island wide, in view of providing 2 varieties of high quality hybrid coconut saplings with every home to make use of cultivation in coconut lands for a commercial economy while producing the domestic coconut requirement in home gardens.


This project was initiated recently under the patronage of the Minister of Plantation Industries, Hon. (Dr.) Ramesh Pathirana in the areas of Kithulampitiya, Kalegana, Meepawala and Labuduwa in district of Galle as its centre. Under this, every home was provided with two high quality coconut saplings along with the “Kapruka Athpotha” book launched by the Coconut Research Institute. This handbook can be made use of to make the public aware of the coconut cultivation, technical methods of coconut cultivation, coconut cultivation related menaces and the methodologies to get rid of such menaces.


To coincide the coconut sapling distribution project conducted at Ananda Pirivena, Kithulampitiya with the village as its centre, there was also a training program conducted by the officials of the Coconut Research Institute for making people aware of the methods on how to plant coconut saplings.

 

In view of strengthening the economic status of kitul industrialists while providing high quality kitul related products, Hon. (Dr.) Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Plantation Industries handed over Protection Equipment Kits to those who are engaged in the manufacturing of kitul related products on 29th September in Niyagama priorotizing the District of Galle.


Around 300 kitul related products manufacturers in kitul production villages at the center of Elpitiya, Niyagama, Neluwa, Thawalama Divisional Secretariats in the district of Galle were provided with Protection Equipment Kits. These kits included protective helmets, special casserole, torches and rain coats.


Further commenting, the Minister mentioned that kitul treacle is treated special among world’s natural sugary syrups and for these qualities, there is a possibility of promoting kitul treacle around the world and increasing the export income in future. And also, the Minister further mentioned that the Kitul Development Board has engaged in several plans to promote all kitul related products at commercial level and that various research work is being conducted to introduce kitul varieties of high quality by developing it as an industry.

This occasion was graced by the Ministry Officials, Officers including Mr. Gihan Perera, Attorney-at-Law, Chairman of the Kitul Development Board, Public Officers including Divisional Secretaries and other elites including the regional politicians.

The program for eliminating White Fly which is harmful to the domestic coconut industry reported first from the Kegalle district in the year 2019 is now in action at village level. This program is launched in association with the Coconut Research Institute and Coconut Cultivation Board under the guidance of Hon. (Dr.) Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Plantation Industries. Another step of the series of this program was launched at Batuwatte, Ragama on 6th October.


Public were basically made aware of the White Fly threat along with examples. And also, they were informed about the pesticides, its dosage and method of eliminating White Fly. In addition, practical was done how to use a formula of soap water with Neem oil to eliminate White Fly. It was mentioned that White Flies could be eliminated by properly spraying this formula on the backside of coconut leaves for wetting them well once in two weeks for a period of 2 months and in addition, it was mentioned that attracting adult files can be mitigated by hanging grease applied yellow color polythene around the trunk of coconut trees.


The Coconut Research Institute under the Ministry of Plantation Industries has already set up an emergency hotline 1928 and also introduced a WhatsApp number of 0704001928 in respect of the matters arisen in coconut cultivation including White Flies. The public may have a basic knowledge on the coconut related diseases or menaces by sending photographs to the said WhatsApp number.


This event for providing practical knowledge on the White Files menace was graced by officials of the Coconut Research Institute including its Chairman Dr. Saranga Alapperuma and some other officials of line institutions including the Regional Manager of Coconut Cultivation Board in Gampaha District Mr. Kapila Hettiarachchi. This White Flies elimination programs is being implemented continuously in those districts where the menace has been recognized.

 

Hon. (Dr.) Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Plantation Industries along with Hon. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Fisheries and Hon. Lohan Ratwatte, State Minister of Plantation Industries opened the new building constructed at the Palmyrah Research Institute, Jaffna by the Palmyrah Development Board on 13th October.


While commenting Hon. Ramesh Pathirana mentioned that the Palmyrah Development Board and Palmyrah Research Institute both implement a number of programs to uplift the Palmyrah industry which has been a traditional industry in the Northern Province. He further stated that studies are being conducted expeditiously necessary for moving to various Palmyrah related products as well as Palmyrah related liquor products. In addition, he further stated the need of initiating a Scholarship scheme through the Palmyrah Development Board for the children of more than 12000 people engaged in the industry by using the economic benefits of promoting the Palmyrah industry. Finally, the Minister of Plantation Industries also mentioned as such;

“We all are siblings living in one country. We have no difference as North and South. So, We as the Government are bound to do all necessary for the welfare of Northerners. And, we do all necessary for the purpose.”


This event was graced by the Officials of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and the District Secretary, Jaffna and the officers including the Chairman of the Palmyrah Development Board and Palmyrah Research Institute and the politicians in the Northern Province.

 

This special diplomatic meeting between the Minister of Plantation Industries and Industries Dr. Ramesh Pathirana and Mrs. (H.E) Bonnie Horbach, the Netherlands Ambassador to Sri Lanka, took place at the premises of the Ministry of Plantation Industries.


The focus was primarily on the possibility of implementing new projects related to agriculture between the two countries, as well as the new projects of getting high results by mixing the traditional agricultural practices of this country as well as the modern techniques in the Netherlands with the traditional agriculture.
Both sides also focused on the promotion of tourism related to plantation industry and agriculture. Apart from that, ideas were also exchanged regarding Sri Lanka's future program of reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and using organic fertilizers.


 It was also discussed to prepare a method to import coconut oil from the country, which is required for various industries in the Netherlands, especially in the production process of various foods including chocolate.


It was also discussed about bringing Dutch tourists to Sri Lanka for the promotion of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka and the Prime Minister was praised for the high potential of Sri Lanka for the tourism industry.


Here, the minister explained about the free health and nutritional conditions of the people in the country, about the country's economic situation and the cost of living, how the rise in the price of essential food items such as fuel and wheat flour in the world market due to the Russian-Ukraine war has also affected Sri Lanka, China, Japan and It was also pointed out to the Ambassador that India has been Sri Lanka's friend since the past and that they have responded optimistically in debt restructuring.


The Ambassador expressed her belief that Sri Lanka, which is inhabited by people with a very high level of education and information technology skills, will soon be able to return to its previous status as a middle-income country with the support of the International Monetary Fund.
Dutch Agriculture Advisor Michiel van Rrkel, Senior Policy Advisor Nishan Dissanayake and other dignitaries joined this


This mobile laboratory and extension service, which was successfully installed to provide a better access, timely analysis and extension service to the stakeholders of the tea industry, will enable the small tea plantation owners to research the soil conditions and diseases of tea cultivation in their own cultivation area. It will be a great support for the development of Tea Industry.


Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Hon Minister of Plantation Industries and Industries, participated at the the inauguration ceremony of Mobile Laboratory and Extension Service at Sri Lanka Tea Research Institute, Ratnapura and stated that, even though the plantation industry and agriculture industry in Sri Lanka have been growing for a long time, the knowledge and skills required for the development of the industrial sector have not been formally transmitted through the education system, so the economy should be strengthened by referring to a vocational education system. This was held concurrent to the 42nd Research and Extension Service for tea small holders.


Ministry officials, officials of Sri Lanka Tea Research Institute, Tea Small Holdings Development Authority and Sri Lanka Tea Board, tea small holders, members of estate-related societies, and many dignitaries including those involved in the tea industry attended the event.