Erroneous agro data-gathering technique cost Govt. Rs.1 mn

Published : 12:00 am  May 26, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Muditha Dayananda   

In a bid to create a system by compiling information on agriculture, the Western Province Agriculture Ministry had, two years ago, issued some 352,500 forms to be filled by the farmers in the province. 
When the matter was taken up by Nandana Pathmakumara, Western Province Agriculture Minister Gamini Thilakasiri said only 6,469 out of 352,500 forms had been returned by the farmers. He said this at the JVP council meeting held recently under the patronage of Chairman Sunil Wijeratne. 

“It is now evident that gathering data from farmers to source information on agriculture is futile. There is disparity in the statistics submitted by the officials in connection with farmers, acreage under cultivation and barren paddy lands. A special form was prepared and distributed among the farming community so that accurate information could be obtained and stored as data, which would assist several departments in arriving at solutions for various issues surfacing within the province. For this initiative, there is much reluctance from the Grama Niladharis and administrative officers attached to the Agriculture Department. Therefore, there is no alternative left but to assign this task to a firm at Kalubowila. This firm was assigned with the task following the procedure set out for procurement. On the instructions of this company, Rs.644,077 was spent to print the said forms but only 6,469 or 1.8% of completed forms were returned. Rs.250,000 was paid to the company for this. 62 male and female youths who were trained for this activity had not been enlisted as the project seems defunct. Therefore, spending some Rs. 1 million to gather information on farmers and their farmlands is futile,” he said.