ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 44

Plantation fund to help RPCs

By Duruthu Edirimuni

The Government will be implementing the Plantation Fund in a bid to ease the financial constraints faced by plantation firms.
“We are fully aware of the financial constraints faced by some of the RPCs. It is with this in mind that we envisage implementing the Plantation Fund, which would especially be of great benefit to RPCs which are unable to obtain financial assistance from the banking sector,” Plantation Industries Minister D. M. Jayaratne told journalists recently.

He said the Government had initiated several projects to assist privatised plantation companies for continuous funding in the form of credit and grants after privatisation.

“The total cost of these projects exceeds US$ 150 million. Currently, the ADB and JBIC funded Plantation Projects are being implemented to enhance the profitability of the Plantation Sector through the transformation of RPCs from primary producers to agribusiness entities,” he said, adding that to ensure the sector’s long term sustainability, this was a very vital aspect.

He said the Government planned to pay special attention to areas such as substantial investment in replanting, adoption of good agricultural practices such as soil and water conservation, factory modernisation to meet international standards, increased commitment to value addition at estate level, better living standards for workers by enhanced welfare activities, reforestation and conservation of the environment and efforts to reduce cost of production and to remain competitive in the international market.

“While understanding the interest of the RPCs in charging a reasonable management fee, Government would expect a significant investment in good agricultural practices, replanting, factory modernisaon and value addition,” he said.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.