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EU and FAO improve capacity of local service providers to better serve northern rural fisher and far

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 29 September 2017 00:00

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the European Union (EU) has completed renovation of the Agriculture Adaptive Research Centre, and the Government Seed Production Farm located in Thandikulam in the Vavuniya district. The improvement of the two institutions will contribute immensely towards agricultural development and modernisation in the Vavuniya district directly benefiting farmer families. 

The improved Government Seed Production Farm were declared open by Libuse Soukupova, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the presence of K. Sivanesan – Provincial Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Services while the Adaptive Research Centre was declared open in the presence of Dr. W.M.W. Weerakoon – Additional Secretary (Development) Ministry of Agriculture and officials from the Department of Agriculture. Additional Government Agent of Vavuniya T. Thireskumar and FAO Programme Manager (EU-SDDP) Rohini Singarayer were also present at the ceremonies.

A fully equipped laboratory and office premises were established at the Adaptive Research Centre with financial assistance from the EU through the European Union Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP). The improvement of the Adaptive Research Centre will enable effective research on the adaptation of crop varieties (mainly Other Field Crops) to the local soil and climatic conditions, and pest and disease management. 

The research conducted at the centre is ultimately shared with the agricultural extension officers and farmers through field days and demonstrations while a key component is publishing the research. The subsequent production of seeds of these crop varieties at the Government Seed Production Farms contribute towards an integrated service to the farmer communities in the district.

The Government Seed Production Farm (GSPF) in Vavuniya, an institution which comes under the purview of the Northern Provincial Department of Agriculture was also improved with funding from the EU. The GSPF produces seeds (seed paddy, vegetables and OFC) and planting materials (seedlings, grafted and budded plants). It also serves as a seed processing unit where farmers can bring their seeds for cleaning. 

The construction of the office building and a sales outlet, a farm machinery shed, an agro-well, pump house and a surface tank for water storage, and the renovation of the seed processing unit have been completed by FAO under the EU-SDDP. A Seed Processing Machine, Combine Harvester, and a Transplanter were also provided to increase the production capacity of the GSPF which in turn leads to the availability of more seeds and planting material for nearly 5000 farmer families annually in Vavuniya. 

“Success in agricultural and rural development in Sri Lanka depends on individual actions of thousands of rural farmers whose decisions are shaped by the information, knowledge and technologies available to them,” stated Soukopova. “That is why the EU values the partnership with FAO to facilitate the improvement of productive agriculture infrastructure facilities that will benefit rural farmer communities to restart and rebuild their lives in a time of peace.”

The first Fisheries Information Centre established in the Mannar district was handed over by Soukupova to the Additional Director of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources B.S. Miranda. The fully furbished Fisheries Information Centre which consists of an administration division, a training hall and a library containing resource books, publications and maps will benefit 2700 persons annually including fisheries extension officers, fishers, university lecturers and students, planners and researchers. 

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, FAO Policy Officer/ FAO Representative to Sri Lanka and the Maldives acting-in-charge Itziar Gonzalez stated, “FAO together with the EU is ensuring that State institutions and productive infrastructure facilities are accessible and strengthened in order to enhance sustainable and profitable livelihoods. We are pleased to note that this Fisheries Information Centre will make a difference in the lives of fishers, particularly small-scale fishers with limited access to the latest technological and management developments required for their livelihoods.” 

Within the framework of the EU-SDDP, FAO is increasing income generation among vulnerable population by supporting agriculture, livestock and fisheries related economic activities targeting 21,000 households in Mannar, Vavuniya, Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Ampara and Monaragala Districts.

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