Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena instructed officials to immediately resolve the crisis that has arisen regarding the release of maize seeds imported from India to farmers.
The Prime Minister gave the following instructions when the meeting of the National Steering Committee for Achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals was held under the patronage of the Prime Minister on 13.10.2022 at the Temple Trees.
Much attention was paid to the challenges of achieving 17 sustainable development goals at the meeting. In addition to the problems in the health and agricultural sectors that have arisen in the face of the current economic crisis, the attention was drawn to many important areas including reviewing the problem of poverty, cruelty against children, improving food production under the food security programme, overcoming climate challenges and water management in the meeting.
The Prime Minister’s attention was also drawn to the malnutrition among children that is intensifying due to the country’s economic downturn and the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera revealed that the reason for the delay in maize produce that stagnate Triposha production in the country was the delay in the release of the seeds brought from India by the Port Plant Quarantine Unit.
The Minister of Health, Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella, who commented on the occasion, pointed out that the release of the seeds has been delayed as the officials are following precautionary measures in that regard due to the spread of rumors about the presence of aflatoxin in the imported maize seeds.
The Prime Minister instructed the officials to investigate and intervene in this matter immediately.
The Prime Minister emphasized that if there is any ban on the release of the seeds needed by the farmers, the President or himself can be informed about it and before delaying the release of the seeds, he must have been informed about the fact that according to which international standards that the seeds have been tested.
Commenting on social security included in the sustainable development goals, the Prime Minister pointed out that the long-term continuation of cases regarding very minor matters is a serious problem faced by thousands of people across the country and this is unnecessary trouble and unnecessary expense for the people.
He said the government officials should be informed about the programmes to achieve development goals and not limited to circulars.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Sarath Dash, who participated in the event, said that the United Nations expressed its appreciation for the progress Sri Lanka has made so far in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and will continue to provide the necessary support to Sri Lanka in this regard.
He also mentioned that United nations is expected to spend 385 million dollars to achieve the sustainable development goals of Sri Lanka between 2023 and 2027.
It was emphasized in this National Steering Committee meeting that every ministry should maintain reports on how much they contribute to sustainable development goals and sustainable development goals should be prioritized in the 2023 budget.
Minister of Health Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Agriculture Mr. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Public Security Mr. Tiran Alas, State Minister of Fisheries Mr. Piyal Nishantha and many secretaries of the Ministries participated in this event.