Research Farm charts region's agricultural future

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 October 2002, 04:07 GMT]
A few miles east of Kilinochchi town lies Vattakkatchi which is the site of a sprawling Agricultural Research Farm covering hundreds of acres. Here, bright minds are at work charting the future of small scale industries and agricultural development of the North East region.

Young worker at green gram field
Young worker attending to green gram field in the Vattakkachchi research farm
Thuyavan, head of Tamil Eelam Economic and Development Organization (TEEDOR) deftly balances the need to work with foreign NGOs such as CARE and FORUT, and the social imperative to avoid becoming over-dependent on them.

Professor Navaratnarajah, Dean of faculty of Agriculture (Jaffna University), who is also the chairman of The Consultancy House (TECH) -the research arm of TEEDOR- is the main driving force behind TECH.

Pest control experiments
Experimentation in Integrated Pest Management at the farm
TECH is also mandated to carry out projects that promote creation of income generating small scale enterprises to help economically disadvantaged section of the NorthEast population.

Heifer calf rearing schemes, poultry farming projects, cottage level processing of milk for dairy keepers and upgrading Vanni goats with Jamunapuri goats are some of the projects that are of immediate focus at TECH.

Integrated Pest Management research and experimentation to identify biological methods to control pests that cause damage to variety of crops are being actively pursued in the farm. This effort, Prof. Navaratnarajah says, can immensely benefit from expatriate involvement and support.

Narrow, deep channel feeding the farm
Narrow channel feeding off of an irrigation channel bringing water to the farm
The farm contains several new buildings that include administrative offices, conference rooms, a well equipped computer center and accommodation to visitors.

The farm's water needs are satisfied with water obtained from the distributory channel of a Vattakkachchi irrigation tank. A narrow channel of width not more than 1 ft wide and 4 to 6 ft deep carries water to an internal well. The narrow channels minimize water loss due to evaporation.

drip irrigation
Small scale drip irrigation experiment in progress
Drip irrigation, which allows delivery of precise amount of water and nutrients directly to plant root zone, is being experimented with equipment supplied by a foreign partner.

"Most of the development one sees in the farm happened after the MoU was signed. With the peace process moving forward, we will be able to focus on the tasks at hand and accomplish a lot more in coming months," says Thas, Deputy Head of TEEDOR.

 

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