03rd January 2021 15:25:27 Hours
The special delegation from Rwanda who arrived in Sri Lanka with a view to exploring possibilities of providing scientific expertise for control of the fast invasion of fall armyworm (Sena moth caterpillar) on maize (corn) plantations in the north central province and elsewhere on an initiative taken by HE the President, paid a courtesy call on General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army at the Army HQ at the end of their two-day long fact-finding mission, coordinated by the Army.
Seen as a gesture of goodwill and prevailing sound bilateral relations, the delegation, comprised of scientists, agrarian experts and pest-control experts from Rwanda, in less than 72 hours after HE the President turned to them seeking their consultations on a priority basis chartered a special flight and landed in Colombo on Thursday (31) and met their counterparts at the Ministry of Agriculture before a field visit to Elayapattuwa in Anuradhapura was made.
Coordinated by the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock in the Army, the delegation at first met Minister of Agriculture Hon Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Secretary to Ministry of Agriculture, Major General (retd) Sumedha Perera, Director General of Agriculture, Dr W.M.W Weerakoon, along with a few senior state officials from Agricultural sectors and Agrarian services, Major General Pradeep Silva, Director General General Staff of the Army, Major General Indrajith Kandanaarchchi, Director General, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock at Colombo where presentations on the extent of the menace in question were tabled before the Rwandan delegation. Similarly, the Rwandan experts presented their experiences in the control of the pest in their country, where corn plantations are done on a mass scale.
The delegation included Brig Gen Fred Muziraguharara, Mr Alexis Rusagara (Horizon Group COO), Jean Marie Vianney Uzamugura (Agropy Production Manager), Mrs. Priscille Ingabire, Crop Protection, Mr. Leon Hakizamungu, Crop Protection Technician, and Mrs. Bellancille Uzayisenga, Crop Protection Research Fellow and 11 crew members.
At Anuradhapura, the delegation made a field visit to Elayapattuwa area and saw for themselves how those fall armyworms have invaded maize plantations in Anuradhapura area. The visit of the Rwandan delegation was made possible after HE the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently visited those affected corn fields at the invitation of Ven Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanatileke Thera, Incumbent at Mirisawetiya sacred place.
At the Commander's office, the delegation gave a summary of their findings and observations in Anuradhapura and assured their fullest cooperation for eradication of the threat of those pests after a detailed report was prepared by them upon their return to Rwanda on Friday (1). General Shavendra Silva expressed his profound gratitude to the delegation and presented them with a few compliments and mementoes before they ended their itinerary in Sri Lanka.