U.S. helps farmers re-establish roots in the North

Friday, 6 May 2011 02:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Assistant Secretary Robert Blake, former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, travelled to Kilinochchi on Tuesday to turn over water pumps to formerly displaced farmers in the North. 


U.S. Assistant Secretary for Central and South Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake handing over a water pump to a beneficiary of a programme jointly conducted by the United States, the United Nations, and the Government of Sri Lanka in Kilinochchi

The water pumps are one aspect of a $5.2 million U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) project to assist recently resettled families in the North, conducted in partnership with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Northern Council Departments of Agriculture, Livestock and Agrarian Services.

Assistant Secretary Blake noted, “Through this project alone, the U.S. Government is directly helping more than 17,000 of the most vulnerable households, who were formerly displaced due to the conflict, to restart their livelihoods in the Northern Province.”

Many families in the North only recently returned home to the land they have not farmed or lived on in nearly a generation. As a result, it is crucial that they begin to grow and harvest crops both to feed their families and to sell for income. The U.S. Government, in partnership with FAO and the Department of Agriculture, is helping resettled people to become self-sufficient by providing seed paddy, other field crop seeds, tools, home gardening packages and water pumps. The project is also helping 3,950 widow- and female-headed households raise poultry.

USAID Senior Advisor Mark Oviatt said: “This programme is a part of a larger suite of assistance that USAID provides to Sri Lanka. In support of the Sri Lankan Government’s stated development objectives, the U.S. Government is proud to support the work that the FAO and Department of Agriculture are doing to address the critical food security needs of recently resettled and vulnerable people throughout the Northern Province.”

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided development and humanitarian assistance in developing countries worldwide for nearly 50 years. Since 1956, USAID/Sri Lanka has invested nearly $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.