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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2527

USAID and Northern Farms Providing Employment and Creating Markets in Vavuniya

Colombo, 12 October, (Asiantribune.com):

Manpreet Anand, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), opened a new agricultural processing factory in Marukarampalai, Vavuniya yesterday, October 11. This project was established through a public-private partnership between USAID, the development agency of the United States government, and Northern Farms, a Sri Lankan agribusiness.

The new factory is well-equipped with modern machinery, increasing the production capacity of the plant and introducing higher value-added consumer goods commonly used in local households such as roasted rice flour, pounded black gram and sesame oil. This will provide permanent employment opportunities for conflict-affected communities and boost incomes of thousands of local farmers who will supply the factory with rice, millet (kurakkan), black gram, and sesame seeds.

“We are happy to help develop and expand such dedicated and hard-working small local businesses like Northern Farms,” said Anand at the opening. “The United States is proud to add this factory to our long history of development support for the people of Sri Lanka.”

USAID and Northern Farms have committed more than 66 million Sri Lankan Rupees to the partnership. USAID’s contribution of 32.2 million Sri Lankan Rupees financed the purchase of processing equipment, vehicles, a waste water management system, packaging materials, and an initial stock of raw materials. The remaining investment from Northern Farms funded construction of the factory and office building, the connection of high voltage electricity, and the purchase of both land and equipment.

Additional investment will be used to set-up a waste water system for the food processing facility, an industry best practice. In addition, USAID is collaborating with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to provide assistance in financial and human resource management, market development, food processing, and occupational safety to strengthen Northern Farm’s capacity for sustainable growth.

During his visit, Anand also laid the foundation for new hostel and storage facilities at the Sivanarul Vocational Training and Production Centre (SVTPC), which provides employment opportunities to women affected by the conflict in Killinochchi. Supported by a 36 million Sri Lankan Rupees partnership between USAID and SVTPC, the construction will provide accommodation for employees – mostly women and the disabled – and expand production and distribution capacities of rice flour, powdered chili, and spices.

USAID supports Northern Farms and SVTPC activities through the VEGA/BIZ+ program that provides financial, technical, and managerial assistance to small and medium businesses throughout the country. USAID’s support to businesses such as these provides a much-needed boost to the local economy in some of the most underdeveloped parts of Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

 USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Manpreet Anand cuts the ribbon at Northern Farm’s new gram processing factory. Machinery: USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Manpreet Anand examines rice flour processing machinery at Sivanarul Vocational Training and Production Centre (SVTPC). Foundation: USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Manpreet Anand lays the foundation stone for SVTPC’s hostel
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