Sri Lanka: Farmers in Anuradhapura could carry out their work to the fullest extent as droughts had ceased with the arrival of monsoonal rains after five cultivation seasons, Anuradhapura Government Agent R.M.Wanninayake told the Daily News.
“Kanna meetings with regard to the 12 major tanks under the Irrigation Department had been held recently. Considering the change of weather, we have decided to cultivate 131,000 hectares of land instead of 121,000 hectares as planned earlier,” Wanninayake said.
“We intend to make use of all small, medium, and large-scale tanks in the district,” he said, and added that farmers aimed to reap 600,000 bushels of paddy.
“We have managed to store 500,000 bushels of paddy so far and we hope to obtain the balance 100,000 bushels from the Mahaweli H Zone,” Wanninayake added.
He said that the government was providing fertiliser subsidies through 41 agrarian departments at Rs.500 per sack. The subsidies included fertiliser such as Muriate of Potash (MOP) and Triple Super Phosphate (TSP), the government agent said.
Wanninayake added that fertiliser subsidies worth Rs.1,5000 were also available in the open market.
Fifty thousand farmers in the Mahaweli H Zone had planned to cultivate 25,390 hectares of land and 22,000 hectares of those lands would be used for growing paddy, while the remaining land would be used to grow other crops such as bananas and papaws, agronomist Susantha Gunatilaka said.
Two hundred thousand metric tonnes of paddy is expected to be harvested during the 2018/2019 Maha season, with an average of 6.5 tonnes per hectare. The average for the previous Maha season was 6.2 metric tonnes per hecatre, whereas the previous national average paddy yield was 4.3 tonnes per hectare.
Cultivation in the Mahaweli H Zone during last year was only at 50 percent due to water scarcity, however, farmers in Anuradhapura had grown 554,568 metric tonnes of paddy, Gunatilaka said.