- Agriculture Minister issues Gazette notification demarcating boundaries of area to be used for farming in 3,600 ha in Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Mahaweli ‘F’ zone
- Area declared as green organic zone, free from agro-chemical, pesticide use
- Program to be implemented under public-private partnership
- Products to be supplied to local and foreign markets under ‘Mahaweli Knuckles Organic Products’ brand
By Chandani Kirinde
An area of 3,600 hectares in the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Mahaweli ‘F’ zone has been declared as a sustainable development area for organic agriculture by Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development Minister Chamal Rajapaksa.
The Minister has made the Order under Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka Act No. 23 of 1979 in concurrence with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The sustainable development area has been declared to promote organic vegetable crops, fruit crops and other field crops in this area as a green organic zone, free from use of agro-chemical and pesticides.
The organic agriculture program will be implemented under a public and private partnership to supply the direct and value added certified organic products to local and foreign markets from this zone.
The products will be supplied to the local and foreign markets under the brand of ‘Mahaweli Knuckles Organic Products’.
Among the objectives of the program are to ensure sustainable usage of soil through soil conservation methods of setting stones bunds and biological hedges etc. to promote water conservation in farming methods for the preservation of irrigation water and efficient use and integrated farming system by integrating poultry, cattle, goat and pasture cultivation to ensure food and nutritional security of the farmer families living in this zone and to promote the manufacturing of organic fertiliser.
It is expected to manufacture the required organic fertiliser within this zone for which the farmers will be provided with necessary fertiliser by the Government in pursuant to the suitable method.
The other objectives of the program are to promote cultivation of rare vegetables and fruits in home gardens of farmers and thereby conserve such crops from becoming extinct and encourage bee-keeping and promote integrated pest management practices without using agro-chemicals to control such pests and diseases affecting organic cultivation.
The organic crop cultivation zone will also be developed as an agro tourism and a model zone where knowledge about organic plants can be gained.
No permit will be granted to maintain the outlets which sell pesticides and weedicides in this zone while irrigation water from this zone will not be provided for any industrial activities without special permission.
The necessary agricultural instructions and recommendations to relevant farmer organisations to develop the necessary management operational mechanism will be provided by the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka with the technological assistance of the Department of Agriculture.
The relevant Gazette notification demarcating the boundaries of the special zone area was issued by the Minister last week.