India assisted Bio Institute opens in Hill-country

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 March 2006, 10:45 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President, Mahinda Rajapakse, Saturday, ceremonially opened a Bio Technology Institute set up under the assistance of an Indian Agricultural expert in Kotagala, press release issued from Colombo said. Leader of Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Arumugam Thondaman, welcomed Mr Rajapakse and India's High Commissioner, Ms Nirupama Rao to the opening ceremony. The Institute will train rural youths, the release said. Another model farm at Kirindiwela in Gampaha district is already in operation.

Full text of the press release follows:

Malaiyaha Bio Tech opens
Malaiyaha Bio Tech opens
Malaiyaha Bio Tech opens
The President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, inaugurated the Malaihar Institute of Bio resource Technology at Kotagala on March 18, 2006 in the presence of the Indian High Commissioner Mrs Nirupama Rao. The Institute is being set up under the guidance of Indian agricultural and rural development expert Mr Rajbir Singh.

The Institute is developing a model farm with sections on floriculture, vegetable growing, beekeeping and herbal-aromatic plants cultivation as well as an agricultural implements workshop and a ‘people’s’ tissue culture laboratory. The farm will train rural youth in modern, eco-friendly and low-cost solutions that help supplement their incomes. It has begun training a batch of 60 youth, including 40 girls, in the theoretical and practical aspects of agriculture and allied activity. The girls are also given training in handicrafts and dress making. The trained youth will leave the farm with the required inputs - seeds and implements, most of which would have been manufactured on the farm – and return after a gap of three months for a refresher course that addresses any gaps in skills based on their practical experience in their own fields.

The project is being implemented by Mr. Rajbir Singh’s organization Tipple Tech with the encouragement and support of the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka. Tipple Tech lives its vision and implements its objectives through the development of model farms and the creation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the areas surrounding the farm. The members of the SHGs are employed and trained at the model farm and then encouraged to try out what they have learnt on their own. In the initial stages after they venture out, the model farm continues to assist them in sourcing of seeds, shared use of expensive equipment and marketing of produce. ‘High’ technologies such as tissue culture are demystified and farmers taught their use with the help of common facilities set up at the farm. Profits are ploughed back and assets created are eventually left for the use of the farmers. The whole approach is practical, skills-oriented and empowering.

The Kotagala farm is the second such farm being developed in Sri Lanka. A model farm at Kirindiwela in Gampaha district is already benefiting people of that area.


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