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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2554

Japan funds nearly two million dollars on a North East livelihood project

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

Colombo, 11 July, (Asiantribune.com): A massive rural empowerment and sustainable livelihood programme among the conflict affected people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is organized by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Industrial Development.

The funding for this empowerment programme is by the Japanese Government and the value of the funding would be US $ 1.732 million and the apportionment would in the proportion of 2/3rds for the Eastern Province and 1/3rd for the Northern Province.

The project comes under the UN Integrated Industrial Development Support Programme and the objectives of the project is initially to assist around 3,000 households in rural communities in the selected districts to revitalize agricultural activities and increase food production through simple hand tools, implements and agricultural machinery including basic food processing equipment.

The project also would attempt to assist in the product diversification in terms of increasing the value addition of agricultural products through development and promotion of agro based micro and small business based on the market demand in the Northern and Eastern regions as well as trade potentials between the regions and other parts of the country.

Through all these activities the Programme also attempts to increase productivity by the provision of offering the farmers the necessary implements and equipment, like hand-tractors, facilities for micro irrigation and also to provide markets for the farm produce. Through the market linkage, farmers would be able to obtain a better price for their
Produce.

Nawaz Rajabdeen, National Director, UNIDO Focal Point said that the project so far has selected the Batticaloa Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Baticaloa district and Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Trincomalee District as the counterpart organizations/implementing partner in the respective districts.

While the project also encompasses any Tsunami affected leftovers, the programme has already identified 14 farmer organizations in each district.

Rajabdeen said that the project will not stop just only handing over implements and equipment but there is provision under the project to train the unemployed rural youth in these areas, to be mechanics to repair these implements, tools and equipment, if they go out of commission. He said that another feature of the programme is to develop and promote unemployed youth to manufacture simple agricultural tools that are required by the farmers selected in the programme.

Sarath Abeysundara, National Programme coordinator, UN Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO said that in Batticaloa the programme will be launched on 7th July and in Trincomalee it will be on 9th July. He said that things are being expeditiously sorted out to commence activity in the Northern Province too.
As funds for this essential programme are provided by the Japanese Government, a Sri Lankan Japanese Embassy representative coordinates all funding and he will also attend the inaugural functions.

Already project staff has been recruited and project offices have been set up complete with necessary office furniture and equipment. District Committees, Divisional Committees and Village Level Committees have been formed for better implementation and monitoring of the project.

- Asian Tribune -

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