Rebuilding Mutur farmer economy stressed

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 September 2002, 22:54 GMT]
Paddy production in Mutur must be rebuilt, those gathered at the opening of a seed-cleaning centre at Killiveddy, south of Trincomalee, was told Saturday. "Paddy production in the Mutur area, which was once considered a granary of the Trincomalee district was badly affected due to the war as most of the farming families had been displaced, lost their homes and had properties destroyed," said Mr. Rasalingam Thiagalingam, Secretary to North East Provincial Ministry of Lands and Agriculture addressing a gathering, which followed the opening.

"We have to rebuild the economy of the Mutur area, introducing farmers to new techniques in cultivation. One such is producing quality seed paddy," said Provincial Secretary Mr. Thiagalingam.

The first seed-cleaning centre was declared open at Killiveddy in Mutur to uplift the farming families who had been badly affected by the two-decade-old war.

"This is the first commercial enterprise to be opened in Mutur area to improve the livelihood of farmers from subsistent level after the ceasefire agreement came into force. Farmers can now obtain quality seed to make their cultivation commercially successful," said the Provincial Ministry Secretary.

Seed cleaning centreDr Dedo Geinitz, team leader of the Integrated Food Security Programme (IFSP) of the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) handed over the seed cleaner to the Mutur co-operative society Saturday.

Dr Dedo Geinitz said that participation of the people is essentially needed for a project like this. "Machine is nothing without the co-operation of the people. Our objective is to promote commercial farming in the Mutur area," said Dr.Dedo.

"We have located the seed cleaning centre in the middle of rice growing areas of Killiveddy, Palakudiyuruppu, Thoppur, Mallikaitheivu and other villagers, so that every one can have easy access. The centre is also open to farmers in Eachchilampathu, Seruvila and from villages in Batticaloa. The centre is open to all members of the three communities," said Dr.Dedo Geinitz.

The Seed Cleaning Centre has been constructed at a cost of 2.5 million rupees with the support of the IFSP of the GTZ. Of this about 1.65 million rupees were the cost of the seed cleaner, which was imported from Germany and installed by the Department of Agriculture. The Mutur Co-operative Society invested about eight hundred thousand rupees for the construction of the building and other structures to house the seed cleaner The IFSP has invested the initial investment for starting seed paddy cultivation by farmers.

Mr. Thiagalingam paid a glowing tribute to the IFSP/GTZ for providing a seed-cleaning machinery to modernize farming in Mutur area. The machine can process about four thousand kg of seed per hour, sources said.

Seed cleaning centreThere are more than twelve thousand agricultural families in the Mutur area, which comprises two divisional secretary divisions with more than twenty two thousand hectares of paddy land. Of this, around eleven thousand hectares come under major irrigation schemes. Two thousand six hundred fifty hectares come under small irrigation schemes, with the remaining eight thousand four hundred and thirty hectares coming under rain fed cultivation, agricultural department sources said.

The main reason for the poor yield in paddy cultivation is low quality seed. The seed cleaner has been installed to upgrade the quality of seed to ensure high yield thus making the farmer commercially success, said Mr.K.Subramaniam, North East Deputy Provincial Director of Agriculture.

Tamil National Alliance national list parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham said that war has destroyed the economy of the Mutur farming community. It has to be rebuilt on sound footing. The seed-cleaning centre will provide quality seed to Mutur farmers who were earlier deprived of such faicility. Farmers should not depend on subsistence paid by authorities. Instead they should be self reliant, he added. Trincomalee district Government Agent Mr.N.P.K.Nelumdeniya also spoke.


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