President seeks new thrust for agriculture in North
Meets with father of Green Revolution:
President Mahinda Rajapaksa sought the need for a new thrust in the
agricultural development of the North, as the people are resettled and
they return to their traditional livelihoods, mainly agriculture.
He sought the assistance of Prof. M. S. Swaminathan, who is
considered the Father of the Indian Green Revolution to help in the
agricultural development of the North, which has been devastated by the
recent war with the LTTE and the livelihoods of the people there
During a meeting with Prof. Swaminathan at Temple Trees on Tuesday,
President Rajapaksa said the Government’s priority was to give hope to
the people of the North who had suffered immensely under the tyranny of
the LTTE, and sought the help of the great Indian agriculturist to help
finalize a road map for rehabilitation of the displaced with enhanced
restoration of their occupations in agriculture and fisheries.
Prof. Swaminathan was told that over 80 percent of the population in
the Northern Province covering Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya
and Mannar depend on agriculture and allied occupations for their
livelihood and revival and revitalization of agriculture is the need of
The President requested Prof. Swaminathan to review and provide his
inputs to the strategy for agricultural and fisheries development of the
resettled people that the Government had already prepared.
The Indian agriculturist, who was optimistic about the development of
the North, told the President that every calamity also presented an
“A new chapter in the agriculture of the Northern Province can be
opened up by introducing farmers to the use of soil health cards and
more income per drop of water techniques. Post harvest processing and
value addition are also essential, particularly for increasing earning
opportunities for women,” he said.
The President was keen to have special attention paid to women in
agriculture and said that initially the State banks would make available
credit for both on-farm and off-farm livelihood opportunities.
He welcomed India’s assistance in strengthening agricultural research
and training, which would be timely, as there is a need to move fast, as
government machinery, whether in Sri Lanka or India, tends to move
The possibility of choosing an appropriate centre in Vavuniya for
strengthening participatory research and education for farmers, and the
use of mobile soil-testing vans, farm machinery and other essential
equipment to revitalize the agriculture economy, were also discussed.
On fisheries sector development, Prof. Swaminathan, was of the view
that it would be useful to develop one of the existing centres in the
North into a “Fish for all” training centre based on the model set up at
Poonpahar by the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation.