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07th January 2021 14:50:16 Hours

Transforming Troops to Execute Nation-Building Tasks, Maiden Corps of Agriculture and Livestock Raised in the Army

The Sri Lanka Army, forming a new class of troops, fully operational for the express goal of elevating the country's agricultural sector to new heights raised its Corps of Agriculture and Livestock on Thursday (7) under the Army's Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) making headway in its nation-building tasks, to be in line with HE the President's 'Sawubhagye Dekma' (Vistas of Splendour & Prosperity) policy statement..

The formal raising orders for its establishment was signed by General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) who is also the heavyweight behind realization of the new Corps which could in future demonstrate and execute amazing military capabilities in this vital domain of national importance as has already been done elsewhere in the field of national infrastructure, urban beautification, tree planting, digging of new tanks, construction of public utilities, development of public facilities, cultivations, road constructions, varying renovations, etc.

The proceedings, related to inauguration of the new Corps at Sri Jayawardenapura Army Headquarters kicked off upon arrival of the day's Chief Guest, General Shavendra Silva at the invitation of Major General Indrajith Kandanaarachchi, Director General, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) and Colonel Commandant of the Sri Lanka Army Service Corps (SLASC). A pictorial display of ongoing projects of the DAL and with some of model samples, put up at the entrance, invited the observation of the day's Chief Guest before the symbolic signing of raising orders and proceedings got underway.

Lighting of the traditional oil lamp, screening of a video documentary on the role and tasks of the DAL, planned projects, etc paved the way for Major General Indrajith Kandanaarachchi to extend the welcome address, in which he traced the brief saga behind the expansion of nation-building tasks, development of agricultural sector and resolution of new challenges, etc that have been hitherto implemented, amply guided and supported by General Shavendra Silva. After the raising orders were symbolically signed by the Army Chief, Major General Kandanaarachchi presented copies of a booklet that incorporates the series of DAL projects that have been so far effected under the Commander's 'Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak' project and planned ones to the day's Chief Guest and other invitees.

The day's Chief Guest, General Shavendra Silva in his brief talk to the occasion afterwards underlined the importance of the day's gesture as another challenge where the Army is capable of demonstrating its multifaceted capabilities and able to earn an impressive reputation by closely collaborating with all agrarian stakeholders in its journey towards assisting nation-building tasks, as entrusted by HE the President placing the fullest confidence in the Armed Forces.

The newly-raised Corps of Agriculture and Livestock expects to strategically support the state sector initiatives at national level to establish agriculture resource centres, improvement to fresh water fish-breeding, establishment of cold storing facilities and a tri-service agrarian research and development centre while extending maximum support to further improvement of the agrarian sectors in both state and private sector initiatives.

The DAL in the Army while maximizing the use of Army lands for agricultural and dairy purposes has been engaged in the production of paddy, vegetables, eggs and several varieties of essentials to the Army through its Kandakadu, Menik Farm, Vellamkulum, Galkanda, Palatupana, Adiyapuliyankulam, Balalla and Niraviya farms. At present, DAL troops have embarked on cultivation of paddy under 'Thuru Mithuru-Nawa Ratak' project, 1,000 acres of coconuts, 500 acres of TEJC mangoes, 2000 acres of cashew, 200 acres of chillies, production of yoghurt, curd and eggs with 100,000 layer hens, ration packs using local raw materials, salt, tomato sauce, and compost fertilizer and also cultivation of 100,000 turmeric saplings, etc.

The day's milestone event was attended by Major General Prabath Dematanpitiya, Chief of Staff of the Army, Major General Duminda Sirinaga, Deputy Chief of Staff, Directors, senior officers and other ranks.