SLA occupation eats into Jaffna paddy cultivation
[TamilNet, Friday, 22 February 2008, 15:45 GMT]
Only around 65% of arable paddy fields in Jaffna peninsula was cultivated in 2007 while the rest remained fallow, turned into High Security Zones (HSZ) of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and war zones, according to Jaffna Agricultural Department statistics. Though the 2007 paddy yield was more than the expected quantity, the yield only barely meets the needs of Jaffna peninsula, according to the officials.
9000 hectares of the 13,130 hectares of the arable paddy lands in Jaffna peninsula which are mostly rain fed were expected to come under paddy cultivation in 2007.
Only 8,752 hectares were cultivated in 2007, 2,125 hectares more than the fields cultivated in 2006.
Rich paddy lands located in the west and south of Thenmaraadchi, Ariyaalai, islets of Jaffna and in places like Va’ra’ni, Mirusuvil and Vidaththal Pa’lai lie uncultivated due to SLA occupation and turned into SLA HSZs.
Salination is also a factor that had made lands less fertile in Jaffna peninsula.
Though the 2007 paddy yield in Jaffna peninsula was more than what was expected, it is not enough to meet the needs of its residents.
35% of arable paddy fields in Jaffna peninsula remain unproductive due to SLA occupation and war, civil society sources said.