Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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Agri boom in North

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2011
  • Aruntha Kanagaratnam
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  • The fertilizer subsidy given by the government has helped agriculture in the Northern region. The government should be praised for supplying farmers' requirements, a farmer in Urumpirai, Jaffna, R P Devadasan said.

    "Farmers were earlier confronted with many difficulties and some even abandoned agriculture since the cost of production was high. But during the last six years, there is a revival in agriculture in the Northern region, Devadasan told the Daily News.

    Grape cultivators in Jaffna have reaped a good harvest.
    Picture by Nissanka Wijerathne

    He said, during the conflict, harvest was confined to only limited areas. But after the war, the demand for Jaffna products increased. Now many farmers who have half an acre of land, earn over Rs 30,000 a month selling their agricultural product," Devadasan said.

    He also said people in Jaffna praise President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his services to the country. "Our villagers are of the view that the government has done much to rebuild the war affected areas while thousands of development programmes are being carried out in the region," Devadasan said.

    "The main problem people in Jaffna had earlier was the transportation of crops. Many roads were in a dilapidated condition and drivers were reluctant to travel to cultivated areas since the vehicles could get damaged while travelling. But within the last three years, almost all roads have been reconstructed and vehicles can travel to areas where crops are being cultivated, he added.

    S Thambarasa, who owns three acres of grape in Urumpirai said that this was the first time he cultivated all his land. "Two years ago, I cultivated only one acre since the production cost of grapes was high. When the EPDP with government support offered me basic facilities last year, I doubled my product and earned a gross income of Rs 5 lakhs," he said. Thambarasa said I was able to buy a small vehicle and hired 10 workers.

    "This time I was able to cultivate one more acre and next year I hope to cultivate eight acres with various crops since agriculture has become lucrative for farmers in the Northern region," he said.

    A tobacco farmer in the Chunnakkam region said he has cultivated 2,000 tobacco plants and he will reap the harvest next year.

    Farmers Society President Ampan V Rajathurai said farmers in the region are happy and all people have a way of living with the support of government.

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