COLOMBO (News1st): The Government has decided to enter into a Public-Private Partnership programme to commence organic farming in the Mahaweli ‘F’ Zone while the farmers question about the viability of the project.
According to a Gazette issued last Friday (26th) the Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga Mahaweli F Zone has been declared a sustainable development area for organic agricultural products.
Therefore, organic vegetables, fruits, and other field crops are to be cultivated in the section of the Mahaweli ‘F’ Zone that is being developed under the Kalu River project.
The Gazette has further elaborated, the required organic fertilizer is also expected to be manufactured within this zone and that farmers will be provided with necessary fertilizer by the government until such time.
These products would be supplied under the brand of “Mahaweli Knuckles Organic Products”.
“This covers around 3200 hectares of land. People who were displaced during the construction of the Moragahakanda Reservoir had been allowed to resettle on this land. We have given a 1.5-acre land and a quarter-acre plot to every farmer”, Neville Rajapaksa, Director of Agriculture to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development said.
However, several factions have raised red flags over the Government’s decision.
“An assessment has not been carried out concerning this. Will organic cultivation prove to be successful simply by issuing a gazette? If they are declaring this land for organic farming for the benefit of a few companies and to allow them to sell some products, we are ready to risk our lives in our fight against it,” Environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said.
Farmers have also expressed their concerns regarding the matter, requesting authorities not to implement projects which would harm farmers.