Army launches aloe vera farming project among reintegrated ex-LTTE combatants

Friday, 13 January 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SF-J) in collaboration with the office of the Governor of the Northern Province launched an aloe vera farming project on Sunday to establish a stable economy for reintegrated ex-LTTE combatants and several destitute families in Vadamarachchi.

Although the Government provided sufficient vocational training during their period at Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centres in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Welikanda, some reintegrated ex-LTTE combatants reportedly faced difficulties in finding jobs.

As an effort to secure their future with lucrative income, Commander Security Forces – Jaffna Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, with auspices of Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, received the assistance of the Northern Governor Major General (Retd) G.A. Chandrasiri to start aloe vera farms in the Vadamarachchi area.

At the initial stage of the project, 54 families of rehabilitated ex-LTTE combatants, their relatives and other war-affected persons including women-headed families were selected to grow aloe vera at domestic level.

An introductory seminar on the cultivation which is new to Jaffna was conducted by Dr. Mahinee Samarakoon, an expert in the field for the aloe vera farmers of Mamunai, Thalaiady and Champianpattu last Sunday. A cooperative society was also formed for the aloe vera farmers during the inauguration ceremony at Thalaiady Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School.

SF-J distributed agriculture tools needed for the farming project and 5,000 aloe vera saplings at the inauguration and by mid February another 20,000 plants will be provided to farmers. At the request of the Commander Security Forces Jaffna, the Northern Province Governor’s office has allocated Rs. 1 million for the project.

Aloe vera, abundantly used in preparing herbal medication, has a great demand at local and international level. The area selected for Aloe vera farming is sandy and not utilised by residents in those areas to make any agriculture products. But experts recommend the area as ideal for aloe vera farming.

Commander 551 Brigade Brigadier Hemantha Kulathunge, Commanding Officer 10 Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Chamly Ratnayake and senior officers of the Jaffna Special Force took part in the inauguration ceremony.