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Divi Neguma facilitates agricultural revolution

Third phase commences on April 5 :



People growing vegetables in their own gardens

The initiation of the Divi Neguma programme facilitated an agricultural revolution in the country. The third phase of the Divi Neguma programme will commence on April 5. Prior to the launch of the third phase, a house to house survey to identify the priorities and needs of the people will be conducted. For this task, every house will be visited by three officers, namely, from the following categories, Grama Seva Niladhari, Samurdhi Animators, Agricultural Officers, Agricultural Consultant, Tea inspector, Rubber inspector, Agrarian Services Provincial Officers. They will visit houses with community leaders in the area. This will be continued from March 1 to 31.

They will mainly observe sanitary conditions, possible dengue breeding grounds, identify fallow lands in each Grama Niladharai Division which could be used for cultivation. Emphasis will be laid on developing the agriculture, livestock, fisheries sectors and other small scale enterprises.

The ongoing home gardening programme coming under the Divi Neguma project will be further extended in several steps to cover two and a half acre plots of land in promoting the cultivation of vegetables and fruits and horticulture.

“The programmes lined up we hope will further facilitate the strengthening of the the national economy”, Economic Development Ministry Additional Secretary RRAK Ranawaka said.

Domestic units

Under the guidance of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa the government has drawn up plans to observe the activities of numerous families' under the Divi Neguma programme 2011. They aim to increase this number of domestic units in 2012 to 2.5 million.

During the first step the target was one million families. However, the ministry was able to increase this number up to 1.5 million family units due to the enthusiastic response from the public.

At the second stage, the numbers grew to accommodate around 2.1million families to the programme. During the third phase the authorities have drawn up plans to integrate 2.5 million families to the programme.

The government launched the second phase of the Divi Neguma programme with the massive success recorded in its first phase. The second phase of the Divi Neguma project was launched on October 27 last year. Over 150 families in every Grama Niladhari Division were provided with a packet containing seeds of five vegetable varieties to be grown in their home gardens.

Seed packets were delivered among the beneficiaries by Grama Seva Niladhari, Samurdhi Animators, Agriculture Officers of every village under this programme. The Agriculture Ministry had already made arrangements to dispatch the necessary seed packets and saplings to the respective areas. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa launched the programme from the Obawatte village in the Biyagama Divisional Secretariat Division.

Surplus production

The theme of the first phase of the Divi Neguma programme was ‘A Self Reliant Household - A wonderful Motherland’. The programme focused on the agriculture, industry, fishery and animal husbandry throughout. The introduction of the first and second phases of Divi Neguma programme were helpful in reducing the prices of vegetables and fruits and also helped improve the nutritional standards of the people. Under phase II of the programme, the ministry expected to increase the number of home gardens up to 2.1 million. The ministry has released statistics relevant to phase I of the programme. The price of fruits and vegetables has declined as supply increased with the surplus production of home gardens while most of the people have started to grow vegetables and fruits under this project.

According to statistics released by the ministry, during phases I and II of the programme, around Rs 20,000 million has spent under the agriculture sector for home gardening and distribution of plants, seedlings and seeds.

"We have drawn up plans to multiply fruits, vegetables and increase animal husbandry with fisheries," Divi Neguma Director Jayantha Herath said. Banana, papaw, Kiriala, Ginger, lime, pepper are the main crops the authority has selected for cultivation. The ministry will provide saplings, menu or fertilizer, seeds, trainee labour and poultry facilities free of charge.

Global targets

The ministry provides saplings in free of charge for commercial purposes . The Economic Development Ministry expects to grow, every fallow inch of land in the countrywide by reaching global targets, while eradicating hunger and poverty in the country.

The theme of the third phase of the Divi Neguma is 'Divi Neguma for the whole country'.

The ministry has identified seven crops which could be stopped from being imported. These crops are green gram, black grams, maize, chilies, gingerly, and peanuts. By now every programme of the Divi Neguma has been a grand success. The country is self-sufficient in maize, soya, udu, and eggs.

The ministry has planned to provide half of the expenditures for growing home gardens, to householders under the Divi Neguma programme.

The Divi Neguma programme will be implemented with the participation of many ministries. The Ministry of Agriculture, Agrarian Services and Wildlife, Irrigation and Water Management, Environment, Indigenous Medicine, Health are some of them.

The Economic Develop Ministry has drawn up plans to complete every awareness programme to mark the Divi Neguma during March. The workshops are held at Divisional Secretariat level.

The Divi Neguma programme will be implemented in three sectors, namely, agricultural projects, livestock and fisheries and cottage industries. The ministry will provide packets with 10 varieties of seed to house holders under the third phase. This will be one of the major projects in the country's development programme.

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