|Wednesday, 17 September 2003|
by Uditha Kumarasinghe
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has pledged Rs.40 million to the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry to immediately assist farmers to recommence their cultivations and renovate houses damaged in the recent floods, Minister S.B.Dissanayake said.
The Minister said floods had completely destroyed 11,912 hectares of paddy lands in Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Hambantota districts, displacing 20,750 farmer families have been displaced.
"The FAO has highlighted the need to grant seed and fertiliser to these farmers free of charge. It will also help them rebuild their houses by allocating Rs.40 million." The Minister recently had a meeting with FAO representatives to discuss ways of allocating this Rs.40 million to farmers in the flood affected areas. FAO representative for Sri Lanka Mazlan Jusoh also attended the discussion.
Dissanayake said 20,750 farmer families whose paddy lands (upto one acre) were completely destroyed during the previous Yala season have been selected for assistance under this scheme.
In addition, aid will be given to farmers to renovate their houses which have been fully or partially destroyed due to floods and earthslips.
Under this programme, Ratnapura (5450 families), Kalutara (800), Galle (2000), Matara (9800) and Hambantota (2700) will be assisted to recommence cultivations without delay, he said.
Meanwhile the FAO will grant Rs.1300 to each flood affected farmer family in respect of a half an acre of paddy land which will include 21Kgs of seed paddy and 37.5 Kgs of fertilizer.
The Minister said this aid will be provided according to FAO procedures. It will be jointly implemented through Agriculture Ministry, Agrarian Services Department and Provincial Agriculture Ministries. The initial stage of this programme will commence at Hakmana, Matara on September 19.
Produced by Lake House