Colombo, Oct 6 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday launched the national food production programme aimed at preventing a food shortage in the future.
With nearly 1.9 million people facing a severe drought in the island country and many agricultural lands destroyed by floods earlier this year, Sirisena said the food programme was launched to encourage food cultivation in unused lands and revive the agricultural sector, Xinhua news agency reported.
Many programmes will be launched across the country and October 6 to October 12 was declared as the National Food Production Week.
The government is expected to cultivate lands and take steps to encourage those who are cultivating. Legal actions will be taken against those who do not cultivate on their unused lands.
The programme will also see many initiatives to promote home gardening, tree planting, prevention of food wastage and promotion of toxin-free food production.
Meanwhile, Sirisena said immediate steps will be taken to stop importing unhealthy food items as well as non-essential food items into the country.
He said more than 25 billion Sri Lankan rupees was spent annually to import essential food items into the country and it is essential that Sri Lanka produces its own food required for consumption.
The President pointed out that self-sufficiency in food is the identity and the culture of Sri Lanka for the past thousands of years and it should be protected.
He also said it is important that the country gives value to local products if it is to help the agriculture economy as well as the national economy.