Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Potato cultivation pilot project a success at Ampara [Daily Mirror]

Daily Mirror, Monday 26 February 2007
from K.N. Tharmalingham

The first trial cop of potatoes at Akkaraipattu was successfully grown at Illukuchenai, with Canadian aid channelled through Canadian Agro-Sustainability Partnership in partnership with CIDA, and local expertise provided by the Department of Agriculture, Ampara. The first crop was successfully harvested recently.

Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, MP (Dighamadulla) Minister of Housing and Common Amenities inaugurated the harvesting of crop with Islamic religious observances. Messers Nimal Dayaratne, Deputy Director Agriculture, Calvin Piggott, representing CIDA, Douglas MacArthur, President of CASP, religious dignitaries, and government officials participated at the ceremony.

Two varieties of potatoes 'Granola' the white variety, and 'Oseiree' the red variety were cultivated at the trial plots at Barakkathnagar in Irakkamam. The programme commenced in November last year.

Farmers in the area told the 'Daily Mirror' that a packet of seed potatoes tuber supplied the need for thirty beds and each bed yielded nearly 900 grams of quality potatoes. The yields were very encouraging the farmers said.

Minister Mrs. Ashraff in her speech thanked the Canadian donors who supported the project and the officials who successfully helped to implement the project. She said the success of the project would encourage others to take to agriculture.

She said Ampara had been a major paddy producing region under the Senanayake Samudra and pointed out that while paddy had been successful in the past, today it was not profitable owing to problems connected with marketing, storage, pest and disease control. She stressed that fluctuating prices had discouraged many from cultivating paddy.