Labor shortage hampers paddy harvest

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 August 2005, 02:25 GMT]
Farmers in the three districts of eastern province, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai, are unable to harvest their crops due to acute shortage of labourers. The farmers fear that monsoon rain expected during the end of August would destroy their crops if not harvested in time, sources said.

Harvesting has begun in Amparai district and is expected to begin in the districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa next week in full swing depending on the availability of labourers, agricultural sources said.

Yala paddy cultivation is done in irrigable lands under small and major tanks in these districts between April and August. Farmers are expecting a bumper harvest this year, sources said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka government has allocated five hundred million rupees to purchase paddy from farmers in the first phase. The Government has promised to allocate more funds later for the paddy purchase on the request by the Government Agents of the agricultural districts. This was announced at a conference held in Colombo with Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, Minister of Agriculture in the chair, sources said

The government is expecting to purchase 800,000 metric tones to 100,000,00 metric tones from the agricultural districts. About 330,000 hectares have been brought under paddy this yala, agricultural department sources said.


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