Ministry of Agriculture: Ministers and Officials

From TobaccoUnmasked


Agriculture plays a major role in the economy and nutrition of Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Agriculture in Sri Lanka is the government (GoSL) authority over agricultural activities in Sri Lanka. They state their vision as “A vibrant and dynamic agricultural sector for food security and national prosperity”. Minister of Agriculture is the Head of the Institution and the final decision maker with related to policy and implementation issues on agricultural activities in Sri Lanka.[1]

Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary in Sri Lanka has a monopoly in cigarette manufacturing and trade in Sri Lanka. Boasting about a "leaf to cigarette" manufacturing process and interested in domestic cultivation of tobacco, CTC has targeted Sri Lankan Agriculture Ministers, irrespective of which political party or the government they belonged to. Examples of such influences in the new Millennium are mentioned below.

Year 2004 to 2010

  • Government - 6th Parliament of Democratic Socialist Republic (DSR) of Sri Lanka[2]
  • Head of State - Mahinda Rajapaksha[3]
  • Ruling Party – United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (Eksath Janatha Nidahas Sandhanaya)[2]

Minister - Anura Kumara Dissanayake

Political Party - Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People’s Liberation Front)[4]

CTC sponsored renovation of water tanks in agricultural areas in the 1000 Tank Development Programme implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture (Image 1).[5][6] For more details please visit the page Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Image 1: The plaque commemorating the re-opening of the Slivathgama Tank on 17 December 2004. The development was under complete financial sponsorship of the CTC whereas manual labour was provided by the local farmers. The politicians mentioned in the plaque were; Anura Kumara Dissanayake (Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Land and Irrigation), Janaka Bandara Tennakoon (Provincial Minister) and Sujatha Alahakoon (Member of Parliament)

Minister – Hemakumara Nanayakkara

Political Party - United National Party[7]

CTC financially contributed to the “Api Vavamu Rata Nagamu” – Let us grow and develop the country programme of the Ministry of Agriculture.[5][6] For more details please visit the page Hemakumara Nanayakkara.

Image 2: A banner displayed at the Dikkapitiya paddy field Baddegama South by the Mavbima Svayan Poshana Padanama. According to the banner the field is cultivated from “new technology” used under the sponsorship of CTC. The project is reportedly implemented under the leadership of the Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara to encourage the government’s agriculture development programme titled “Api Vavamu Rata Nagamu”

Year 2010 to 2015

  • Government - 7th Parliament of Democratic Socialist Republic (DSR) of Sri Lanka[2]
  • Head of State - Mahinda Rajapaksha[3]
  • Ruling Party – United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (Eksath Janatha Nidahas Sandhanaya)[2]

Minister – Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana

Political Party – United People’s Freedom Alliance[8]

Sustainable Agriculture Development Programme (SADP) was a social investment project of CTC. The Minister promoted the programme by;

  • Participating the Farmer Appreciation Awards ceremony of CTC[9]
  • Visiting SADP families to ‘encourage’ them (Image 3) [10][11]

In June 2017, another Member of Parliament, Buddhika Pathirana, criticised his involvement in CTC's CSR activities during a Parliamentary Debate.[12]

However, at the beginning of his term in 2011, he publically stated that government will ban tobacco cultivation and encourage the tobacco farmers to grow food.[13]

Image 3: Newspaper article reporting Minister Mahinda Yapa Abegunawardena’s visit to SADP families[10]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

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The local language translations



  1. Ministry of Agriculture. Website, 25 March 2015, accessed April 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Sri Lanka Parliament. Duration of Parliament, 08 September 2015, accessed March 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sri Lanka Parliament. Heads of State, 08 September 2015, accessed March 2017
  4. JVP Sri Lanka. Website, undated, accessed April 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2009, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2010, 2011
  7. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Hon. Hemakumara Nanayakkara, undated, accessed May 2017
  8. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, undated, accessed May 2017
  9. Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). CTC rewards farming excellence at Farmer Appreciation Awards, 31 October 2014, accessed May 2017
  10. 10.0 10.1 Daily Mirror. Agriculture Minister Visits CTC empowered Weligama villagers, 17 May 2013
  11. Daily News. Agri Minister visits SADP, 17 May 2013, accessed May 2017
  12. The Parliament of Sri Lanka. Parliamentary Debates(Hansard), Official Report, 252(9), 17 June 2017, Accessed October 2019
  13. ColomboPage. Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Ministry to promote food crop cultivation among tobacco farmers, 18 January 2011, accessed May 2017