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Lankans should act fast to keep global crisis at bay - Master Divers chief

Sri Lanka should never have a crisis with an ocean right round it unless we create it, Chairman Master Divers Marine and Underwater Services Ariyaseela Wickramanayake told Daily News Business outlining what Sri Lankan should do to face the global crisis.


Ariyaseela
Wickramanayake

He said that our country was blessed with all natural resources such as water, good weather and enough manpower but however, if people blame the government that is their undoing.

He said that Sri Lanka has two-hundred miles of sea with fish migration from Australia to Male and if we utilize ten trawlers of fivehundred tons capacity we could produce sixty-thousand tons of fish annually.

Ten trawlers will cost only the value of two BMW cars. If we import 61,000 tins of canned fish despite having all the resources we only have to blame ourselves, he said.

He regretted that some blue chip companies are investing on hotels in the Maldives when they can easily invest on a fish project in Sri Lanka at less cost.

These companies must consider these facts. Most of us are doing what we shouldn’t be doing and have got into a crisis, he said.

There is a similar situation with regard to milk. We pay Rs 18,000 million to import milk from New Zealand without giving the right price to our farmers.

If this is checked the farmers will gain employment and the country will save foreign currency.

The government should also support by giving tax exemptions to farmers.

Wickramanayke said that Sri Lanka imports eighty per cent of its sugar requirements when it is possible to produce sugar, electricity, ethanol and animal feed out of one industry and provide employment and save foreign exchange.

People should be patriotic and utilize local products as much as possible while focusing on growing their own food such as vegetables, grains and fruits.

We have to act fast and that will be the only way out of it, he said.

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