Japan 2KR Grant Aid Program to boost agricultural productivity in Sri Lanka
The long term relationship between Sri Lanka and Japan is enlightened again on 22 December with the handing over of agriculture machineries under the Food Security Project for Underprivileged Farmers, which is generally known as “2KR”Grant Aid Program.
The handing over ceremony was held at the Ministry of Agriculture with the presence of Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, Minister of Agriculture, K.E Karunathilake Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, and Eng. Udeni Wickramasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wildlife from the Government of Sri Lanka.
On behalf of the Government of Japan, the Ambassador of Government of Japan to Sri Lanka Nobuhito Hobo and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka Office Chief Representative Akira Shimura were present.
JICA, the executing agency of Japanese Official Development Assistance Programmes, is an active partner in supporting Sri Lanka in transition from a low income country to a middle income country.
JICA has been supporting the government’s development efforts mainly under three schemes; yen loans, technical cooperation and grant aid. Since 1977, the 2KR projects have been implemented as part of grant aid and accumulated amount of this support has reached Japanese Yen 49.13 billion (approximately Rs. 68 billion).
The agreement on this grant aid for 360 million Japanese Yen was signed between two countries on 31 March 2011 to provide Sri Lanka with 50 numbers of four wheels tractors as the first lot of equipment and the other 896 units of two wheels tractors in the first quarter of the next year.
The Ministry of Agriculture has scheduled to distribute these tractors to the Agrarian Service Centres under the Department of Agrarian Development, and the Government Seed Farms under the Department of Agriculture. The tractors will be utilised to improve the productivity at the farmlands and the Government Seed Farms.
Further, 23 units of tractors out of 50 will be allocated to serve the needs of farming communities in the Northern and Eastern regions, based on the needs assessment conducted by JICA in advance in collaboration with the relevant agencies of Government of Sri Lanka.Farmers in the eastern province had voiced their concerns at the project formulation mission that they are facing problem of land preparation due to lack of machineries. Therefore, these machineries will contribute to their needs.
“We hope the supply of these tractors will improve the productivity of agricultural activities in the lagging regions, especially in the conflict-affected North and East areas”, says Shimura.