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Top US envoy to UN agencies in Rome pledges utmost help to revive Lanka’s agriculture

By Ifham Nizam

Ambassador Cindy Hensley McCain, the United States Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome, yesterday, told Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera that they were doing their utmost to provide necessary support for Sri Lanka’s agricultural development.

Ambassador McCain, who is on a brief visit to Sri Lanka, met the minister along with the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung at the Ministry of Agriculture. The Secretary to the ministry Rohan Pushpakumara its officials and officials from the United States Embassy in Sri Lanka also were present.

Ambassador McCain made inquiries about the current conditions in the agricutural sector.

Minister Amaraweera said that the economic downturn and the impact of the Covid-19 has had an adverse effect on the country’s agricultural sector.

The ministry officials explained about the the supply of chemical fertiliser and other inputs, including the lack of seeds required for certain crops and the rise in the prices of imported hybrid seeds, and materials used for animal feed in the world market.

The US Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome said that she will hold a special discussion with all the relevant sectors following her visit to the country regarding the steps to be taken for the development of the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka, and that she will provide all the possible support.

Addressing the media, Minister Amaraweera said that there have been cases in the past where those from European countries had even stopped visiting Sri Lanka, but at present the US government and many European countries are working pot plans to provide aid to Sri Lanka for its economic recovery, the Minister added.

Since June, Ambassador Julie Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly USD 240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional USD 40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilisser and USD20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.

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