- Open economy destroyed our historical economic system
- Are we heading towards a global food crisis?
- “Vision of prosperity” pledged to protect the people’s right to safer food.
- We should earn food safety through safer food, free of toxins.
- The Role of Triforces to ensure Country’s food safety.
- Our War Heroes are at the front to make this organic farming effort a success.
- They have a role in manufacturing organic fertiliser for the national requirement.
- The Triforces work strenuously to be self-sufficient and to be a helping hand for the nation.
- They have already streamlined their future plans for the betterment of the Country with a holistic approach.
Our Economical Timeline
Inheriting an agrarian economic pattern that runs back more than 2500 years, even before the culture of the “village, temple, Wewa and dagoba”, the Sri Lankan soil is still a fertile ground for even discarded sticks. Sri Lanka was built independently through the glory of an agriculture-based self-sufficient economy. The ancestors-built economy, which came through historical blood-shedding with all endeavours, moved to a new dimension with the open economy in the 70s. Since then, all the essentials and unessential essentials entered the Country, ruining then prevailed system.
The self-sufficient local economy began to disintegrate in the new mixed economic pattern that emerged from the local and global, political, economic, social, cultural, and technological influences. At the same time, experts predict an imminent food crisis as a negative consequence of artificial human intervention, which leads to an unbalanced world economic pattern.
“Vision of prosperity” for the Food Safety free of toxins
In contradiction to those circumstances, His Excellency the President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, through his “Vision of prosperity”, emphasises that the Country will build through the National Policy Statement to make the Country self-sufficient in local agricultural products and to formulate a firm new national policy for this purpose. It has also initiated the promotion of organic fertilisers to protect the people’s right to safer food free of toxins.
The Duty of the Army towards Food Safety and their projects in particular.
The Sri Lanka Army performs its duties extensively in line with that policy, representing a vital role in building a prosperous country. Under the project, “Thuru Mithuru-Nawa Ratak”, based on a concept of the Commander of the Defense Staff, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva, cultivating 12 acres of barren paddy fields near the Sri Jayewardenepura Army Headquarters is considered as the 1st phase of the project.
The Army Agriculture and Livestock Brigade was established on 07 January 2021 to ensure food security in the Country and self-sufficiency in local food and provide assistance of the Army in case of emergencies.
It consists of 5 battalions, one battalion comprised of 28 officers and 725 other ranks. With the establishment of this force, the Directorate for Agriculture and Livestock of the Sri Lanka Army was further strengthened.
Accordingly, the Directorate for Agriculture and Livestock of the Sri Lanka Army has initiated many large scale agricultural projects island-wide utilising many unoccupied and empty lands in Sri Lanka. These Army farms have been established at Kandakadu, Menik Farm, Vellamkulam, Galkanda, Palatupana, Adiyapuliyankulam, Balalla and Niraviya, Kohilavagurawatta, Aralaganwila and the areas associated with Army Headquarters. During 2020-2025, 2000-acre cashew cultivation project, 1000 acres of coconut and 500 acres of mango. A hundred thousand tamarind plants. It aims to cultivate Guava, chillies, maise, grains, vegetables etc. and also focuses on the production of organic fertilisers.
Nearly a year after establishing the Army Agriculture and Livestock Brigade, the Government Information Department and the Sri Lanka Army Agriculture and Livestock Directorate recently organised a media visit to the Menik Farm area in Adiyapuliyankulam to find out information on cultivation activities.
There we saw our heroic soldiers who saved the Country from the 30-year war, cultivating farmland to overcome the food crisis that, as a country, we may face in the future. The Adianpuliyankulam and Menik Farm areas, where the Army had set up refugee camps for people displaced by the war, are turned into fertile fields by war heroes for rice supply on behalf of the nation. The total land area of this farm is 6000 acres. Coconut, mango, chilli, orange. Many crops, including manioc, grain, and vegetables, are grown on a large scale there.
The Adiyankulam Chilli Farm is the broadest large scale chilli farm in Sri Lanka. Chillies have been cultivated on 50 acres as undergrowth under the 200-acre chilli cultivation project. In collaboration with the Department of Export Agriculture, Army Agriculture Brigade has taken the initiative of this project. Two varieties of chillies are grown here. They are MICHY1 hybrid chillies and the Galkiriyagama variety. For the first time, 45,000 kilos of chillies have been harvested, and 7500 kilos have been converted into dried chillies. The dried chillies are sold to the Spice Board, and the Spice Board provides the dried chillies to the public at a discounted price. In addition to drying chillies outdoors, solar-powered drying methods have been introduced for the first time in Sri Lanka.
The Agriculture Brigade of the Army has commenced the cultivation of 64,000 coconut trees in an area of 1000 acres. Out of that 1000 acres, 350 acres have been planted, applying 30,000 coconut saplings. It also includes 100 acres in Adiyapulayankulama. In the future, with the assistance and the guidance of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research Institute, it is planned to start an isolated coconut field of 100 acres at the Kandakadu farm in the dry zone.
The 500 acres of TEJC Mango Project has planted 40,000 mango saplings and is expected to grow to 60,000. Accordingly, 50 acres have already been planted.
In addition, 20,000 moringa and 20,000 orange saplings have been planted in the area. Lime cultivation has been used as a natural barrier as elephant fences. Also, crops such as Mun, kankun and other vegetables are cultivated as undergrowth.
Maise is cultivated on 30 acres in Adiyankulam and is mainly used as animal feed. Today, the price of animal feed has skyrocketed, and corn is grown by the Army to produce the animal feed needed for their animal Farm. The cultivation of turmeric has yielded 6000 kilos, and steps have been taken to provide turmeric seeds to the farmers who need those.
In addition, a local rice production programme is being executed. Indigenous varieties such as “Suwandel” and “Kalu Heenati” are grown, applying organic fertilisers following good agricultural practices. The harvest is provided for the Army’s food consumption and low-income families around the camps at concessionary prices.
The Army’s presence in manufacturing organic fertiliser.
In line with the National Policy for the Promotion of Organic Fertilisers, which is pursuing a target of 400,000 metric tons of organic fertiliser, 1000 metric tons of organic fertiliser has already been produced on this farm alone. Besides that, the production of liquid fertiliser has also been commenced. It is planned to manufacture 25,000 metric tons of fertiliser, and it is expected to meet the national organic fertiliser requirement for the Maha season.
There are also several poultry farms on the 150-acre Niraviya Army Farm. About 5,000 eggs are obtained daily, which are used to meet the daily nutritional requirement of soldiers. Cattle rearing and enhancing egg production through laying efficiency increasing 10,000 animals are the future goals.
Col. Shiran Weligama of the Army Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock said that the plans are afoot to set up agro-resource centres, set up cold storage facilities, develop a freshwater fisheries business and set up an agricultural research and development centre of the Triforces.
The Organic Forecast 2020-2025.
Brig. Arosha Rajapaksa, The Director of the Army Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock, said that under the guidance of Army Commander Shavendra Silva, several targeted cultivation programs for 2020-2025 are being implemented. It is expected that the harvest and livestock production of these plantations will primarily benefit the Sri Lanka Army and then the people. And he said that the exportation of fruit crops such as mangoes are expected in the future therein.
Accordingly, the large scale agricultural and animal production projects initiated by the Sri Lanka Army are gradually reaching their desired objectives. And obviously, the particular initiatives will pave the way to overcome the food crisis to be faced in the future, foreign exchange earning and creating a non-toxic food pattern through the production of organic fertiliser shouldering the national task.
Source- Sinhala Article by Shakunthala Jayawardena (Department of Government Information)
Translated by Dushan Madu
Pic Credits – Army.lk