CULUTIVATION DELAYED

Published : 8:00 am  April 25, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (462) reads | 

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as farmers wait indefinitely for money and water

TEXT & PICS BY VASANTHA CHANDRAPALA, AMPARA Farmers are unable to begin cultivation in their lands for the next season as they do not have funds that were supposed to be provided by the government to purchase fertiliser, several representative of farmers’ unions said. Earlier this year, the government switched to providing funds instead of fertilizer at a lower cost. P. P. Jayasena of the Commercial Farmers Association in Galoya said the farmers were to receive the funds by April 4 for the new season. “We have been ready to cultivate our lands since April 1, but we have not received anything from the government. They were supposed to deposit the funds in our accounts by April 4 but we have not still received anything,” he said.Framers wait indefinitely for money and water The lack of funds was not the only hardship farmers faced in recent times, said C. H. Kumara, President of the L. B 12 Bedumala Farmers Association.

“They said harvests from the previous season would be purchased until April 10 but the stores remained closed on April 8. The fertiliser that we used to buy at Rs. 350 has to be bought at Rs. 2,500. The farmers were supposed to get water to cultivate the lands but we don’t have that as well now,” he complained. There was no fertiliser to purchase, even if the farmers did have the funds to do so, A. Sirisena, President of the M1 Farmers Organisation in Veeragoda said. “There was no fertiliser for the farmers to purchase and whatever was bought from Colombo did not make much of a profit either.

They can transport the fertiliser at Rs. 2,320 a bag but ultimately they would only make a profit of about Rs.10,000,” he said. Parliamentarian Wimalweera Dissanayake who spoke on the issue said there were at least 5,000 farmers who were unable to purchase fertiliser. “The Minister of Agriculture said they would deposit the money for the fertiliser by April 4 but they have not received it yet,” he reiterated. When contacted Kristy Devapriya, residential business manger for the Senanyake reservoir, said that water used for cultivation had been released from the reservoir on April 1.

An agricultural officer who wished to remain anonymous said fertiliser for the new season had already been bought to the offices in the area. “We will have to sell the bags at Rs. 2,500 each and it does not seem like the farmers are ready to purchase them as yet,” the officer said. Ampara District Secretary, Thusitha P. Vanigasinghe said providing funds instead of fertiliser at a low cost was something new to the country. “This is a new system. The initial forms in some districts have not been filled and this has caused some delays. They are making the final draft at the moment. Therefore, the funds should be ready soon,” he said.