The need to specialize and produce specific commodities to meet market demands was reiterated to farmers in the Northern Division.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy who reiterated that Government would soon commence linking farmers directly to specific markets, provided farmers specialized in the production of the commodity in demand.

“Farmers who are fully dependent on Government is now no longer being entertained, we don’t want dependent farmers. However, we want to provide you with the market, whereby your produce is bought from the farm gate.

“For this, the Ministry will identify and will advise farmers on what particular crop they should produce, and this recommended crop will be planted all year round whereby farmers will not have to worry about their market as we will link them directly to the market,” he said.

“A farmers’ biggest fear is finding the market, but now we will take away that fear from the farmers but for that to happen, the farmer should also play their role and continue to supply the exporter with the crops that we recommend,” he added.

Minister Reddy further elaborated that the recommended crops the Ministry of Agriculture would be recommending were exportable ones and could be stored for extended periods of time while still maintaining its quality, one of which was Pulses, which was earmarked for the North.

“This new initiative will guide the growth of the agriculture sector as it is anticipated that through it, exports will increase, contributing to the country’s economy and GDP,” Minister Reddy said.

“To initiate this, we soon will be sending one commodity officer to the Northern Division who will conduct the survey and identify farmers, as well as what crops they will be advised to produce.”

As part of the initiative, farmers would sign contract agreements with exporters to ensure a continuous supply of recommended produce along with the agreed pricing of respective commodities, which would be revised annually.

In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture would provide basic land preparation for the startup on the one-third and two-thirds basis, with farmers expected to produce their own seeds after the initial set-up and assistance was provided by the Ministry on their respective farms.