PM: Major changes in plantation sector needed

Published : 3:52 pm  February 24, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (255) reads | 

By Yohan Perera   
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the country’s plantation sector would have to undergo major changes in the future with crops to be planted in new areas.  

He made this remark at the launching of a master plan to develop the rubber industry — at Temple Trees last evening.   
“Kalutara, which has been a major rubber-growing area has, become a centre of development today, with the government’s plan to develop the whole stretch from Kurunegala to the Southern borders. The Southern highway is going through the area. Therefore you cannot stop development from spreading towards Kalutara. Therefore we will have to utilise rubber lands for other purposes.   

“We will have to replant in 5,000 or even 10,000 acres. We thought of Moneragala for replanting; but around 3000 acres will go for the southern industrial zone. So let’s go to Ampara and Willgamuwa for rubber plantations. You have to find areas to replant.   

“If you want to go northwards, do so. Even coconut has to move more towards the east and north. That’s the reality. You can have fresh plants and fresh varieties. Then I ask you whether we cannot plant rubber on our roadsides for shade. If someone is willing to plant, maintain and tap them so be it. We need shade, we need trees,” he said.