Determined and fully dedicated to the vision for poverty eradication and sustainable development, as declared by HE the President to coincide with his 2nd anniversary in office, the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) of the Army under the close surveillance and directions of the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, has launched a comprehensive project to impart most modern scientific and technical know-how to village-level farming communities for enhancement of their knowledge on agriculture and farming.
Concurrent inauguration of the project to impart scientific and technical expertise to 223 selected agrarian workers and potential farmers in agriculture-dependent villages across the country, symbolically kicked off on Sunday (8) at the Army-managed Kandakadu, Nachchikuda, Vellankulam, Manik Farm and Udayarkattu farms after simple ceremonies, organized separately at those locations by respective Security Force Headquarters of the East, Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu, Kilinochchi and the Wanni in close coordination with the Army DAL.
14 agrarian instructors and degree-holding agriculture officers of the Army during this 60-day long (January 8 - March 8) training project, will adequately educate those rural farming communities on the use of scientific and technical methods for enhancement of their knowledge in proper planting, caring, productivity, cost reduction, increased harvests, storage, climatic changes, use of carbonic manure, viruses, etc to match with most modern farming techniques at global level.
Each attendee during the awareness course, on a proposal made by the Commander, is paid Rs 300/= per day and it is to be increased to Rs 600/= shortly after the Ministry of Defence gives its approval for the increment. In addition, those Army farms provide morning and evening refreshments, lunch and other facilities free of charge to the participants.
The training programme includes practical sessions, field visits to respective locations and additional visits to different Army farms with the intention of exposing the participants to different experiences in the sphere since those natives of low-income families are considered as best hands who could enlighten others too on this timely need of the country.
The overall implementation of the project, coordinated effectively by Colonel A.K.A.B Gunaratne, Director, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock, got off to a start at Mullaittivu Udayarkattu Army Farm at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday (8) with the participation of 110 course attendees from Mullaittivu areas.
Director Plans at the Mullaittivu Divisional Secretariat Ms Villawaraj, Assistant Agriculture Director at the Paranthan School of Agriculture Ms Shakila Bhanu, Brigadier P.A.D Kahapola, General Officer Commanding, 68 Division, 681 and 683 Brigade Commanders and several others were present during the inauguration at Udayarkattu.
A total of 25 course attendees from Jayapuram village in Kilinochchi meanwhile commenced their training, supported by additional instructors of the Jaffna Department of Health and Animal Production at the Nachchikuda Army Cashew Farm on the same day (8), in the presence of several religious and community leaders, state officials from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock. Brigadier D.C Keppetiwalana, General Officer Commanding, 66 Division attended the inaugural ceremony, representing the Commander, Security Forces - Kilinochchi.
Similarly, the training programme, organized by the Security Force Headquarters - Wanni (SFHQ-W), started off on the same day at the Manik Farm after religious blessings.
34 participants have signed up for the training course and the inaugural ceremony took place with the participation of Brigadier S.M.S.P.B Samarakoon, Commander, 213 Brigade representing the Wanni Commander.
Around the same time, the training programmes in the east-based Kandakadu Farm and Nachchikuda Farm, got underway with the participation of more than 60 personnel in both places on Sunday (8).