Provides assistance for northern farmers to boost cultivation and connect with national economy; chance to bring produce from Vavuniya to the south after nearly 20 years
The U.S. is assisting newly resettled farmers in the north to connect to the national economy after the lapse of nearly 20 years, the embassy said in a statement yesterday.
Recently-resettled farmers in Vavuniya North received a ten-ton lorry, water pumps and sprinklers from the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis as part of a US$ 35, 000 American funded programme, a statement said.
The assistance, provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for farmer members of the North Integrated Model Farmers’ Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society, will boost cultivation and enhance market linkages in a region where agriculture is the economic mainstay and livelihood for over 90% of the population.
The statement added that farmers in Sri Lanka’s conflict-affected north are working on renewing market linkages, and accessing new markets.
The USAID-supported lorry will help these farmers, whose marketing opportunities are currently limited to the immediate vicinity, transport their produce to markets across the North and South for the first time in over 20 years.
As a result, the farmers can plan for better prices for their produce, reduce wastage and foster relations outside of the region.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, Ambassador Butenis said, “The United States Government is pleased to support the recovering economy in the North and transit it into a place of hope and a place ready for innovation.”
The training is supported by USAID as part of a $35,000 project to promote the legal and economic development of the local fishing industry and to strengthen harmony among the community.
Several on-going USAID-supported initiatives are helping recently-resettled populations in conflict-affected regions bounce back to life by resuming their livelihoods. Support includes replacement of assets, tools and input; introduction of new technological advances within sectors; development of capacities through exposure visits and training programmes; and assistance to renew existing market linkages and access new markets.