The traditional method of fish-smoking in Unnichchai, a small fishing community in the Batticaloa district sees women spending many hours tending to fish laid out on mesh over smoking coals. Health hazards from smoke inhalation are high, while the output from such intensive labour is often low. That is now changing with the introduction of […]
FAO and EU promotes agri-business in the Ampara district in partnership with Hayleys
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has facilitated two contract farming agreements between Farmer Organizations operating in the Ampara district and Sunfrost (Pvt) Limited of Hayleys Agriculture Holdings. The agreements were facilitated under the European Union funded Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP). The signing of MoUs and Agreements for an export oriented Green Cucumber and Cassava Cultivation Programme, and for a Pineapple Production Programme took place at the Ampara District Secretariat.
Pineapple farms that will span across 200 acres are in the process of being established in Padiyathalawa, Mahaoya, Uhana and Damana, enabling 350 farmers to cultivate on a half-acre to one acre plot each. Over 300,000 pineapple suckers, planting material, technical training on pineapple production, soil and water conservation, formulating farm plans, and training on agri-business has been provided to the farmers. The pineapples produced by the farmers will be purchased by Sunfrost (Pvt) Limited which is expected to establish a processing plant in Ampara for bottled pineapple and dehydrated pineapple for the export markets.
Similarly, 300 acres of under-utilized land in Tampitiya in the Ampara district that was abandoned during the war, have been converted for the export oriented Green Cucumber and Cassava Cultivation Programme. A key feature of this programme is the introduction of a solar powered lift irrigation system to 100 farmers who have set up farm blocks of 3 acres each for green cucumber and cassava production. The produce will be purchased and marketed by the company which will ensure the required certification for the farms for export-oriented production.
“Hayleys Agriculture Holdings accounts for 44% of the total processed fruits and vegetables exports of the country” said Mr. Ananda Pathirage, Director/CEO of Sunfrost (Pvt) Ltd & HJS Condiments Limited. “The importance of the concept introduced by FAO and Sunfrost is to assist farmers in generating income by selling raw fruits and vegetables as well as in value added forms, since Sunfrost has already signed a buy-back agreement with farmers to purchase both value added and fresh produce at a fixed price. This project also helps to transfer modern processing technology to rural farming communities, mainly among the young generation.”
“Food producers in Sri Lanka need reliable access to markets to grow” said Ms Nina Brandstrup, FAO Representative to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “The linkage with the buyers ensures that producers have an understanding of what the markets want, provide a safe basis on which to invest in the production, and provides an incentive to become more efficient. In this way, producers can greatly increase their income and create employment opportunities in the communities.”
FAO and EU are supporting farming families to establish sustainable agricultural production systems that are market-oriented. Partnering rural farmers with the private sector through such contract farming agreements is one way to ensure that farmers improve their productive and marketing capacities and increase the level of production, resulting in a secure source of income.
Representatives of Farmer Organizations in the Ampara district signing the Agreement and MoUs with Sunfrost (Pvt) Ltd. of Hayleys Agriculture Holdings.