Having targeted to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in sugar manufacture, plans are afoot to increase sugarcane cultivation and set up of 15 new manufacturing plants in the country, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement last week. To this end, 104,000 hectares of cultivable land have already been identified in the districts of Moneragala, Batticaloa,
Kilinochchi, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Ampara, Badulla and Polonnaruwa. “The project will be implemented under two stages. A long-term project will be implemented under the first stage while a middle-term project will be introduced under the second stage,” the statement noted.   Accordingly, under the first stage project, the country expects to manufacture 50% of its sugar requirement locally by 2020.  The second project under the long-term basis will be implemented with the participation of the private sector to make the country self-sufficient in sugar by 2025. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the Cabinet has already approved the new project following recommendations for the proposal being made by the Cabinet Sub-committee.