April 1, 2011
His Excellency Mr Kunio Takahashi - the Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera - Secretary to the Treasury and Mr Akira Shimura - the Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Japanese Yen 360 million (approximately LKR 468 million) grant agreement to improve productivity of rural farmers, at the Ministry of Finance and Planning on 31 March 2011.
Under the grant agreement Japan, through JICA, will provide agricultural machinery including two and four wheel tractors, to the Ministry of Agriculture.
The objectives of the grant assistance are two fold, while encouraging farmers who grow for domestic use to contribute to national food security, it also helps to alleviate poverty in rural Sri Lanka.
"We hope that this assistance, which is provided by Japan as a gift, will enable the government to purchase much needed agricultural machinery, fulfilling the needs of farming communities including those in the northern and eastern regions of the country under the ongoing resettlement and reconstruction programmes", says JICA Sri Lanka's Chief Representative Mr Akira Shimura.
While most of the machinery will be distributed among farmers for their use, a small number will also be provided to government-owned seed farms to help seed paddy and vegetable seed production in Sri Lanka.
The Government of Japan established the "Grant Assistance for Underprivileged Farmers" or simply "2KR" programme in 1977 to support national food drives of developing countries, helping them to secure self sufficiency. Sri Lanka has been receiving assistance under this grant since 1977 and so far, the Government of Japan has provided approximately Japanese Yen 50 billion worth of agricultural machinery and input.