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Two training workshops on Sustainable Agricultural Farming Practices were held recently in Kurunegala and Batticaloa with the participation of lead farmers from all the Caritas Diocesan Centres. The workshops are part of a series of trainings being held over the past four years under a project supported by Caritas Norway with back-donor funding from NORAD. Especially in view of World Food Day which falls on 16th October, the Caritas workshops on organic farming are a timely contribution towards strengthening the notion of food security in the minds of the general public, and the farming community in particular.
The first program held at Janasetha Centre in Kurunegala from 12th to 15th September 2016 in Sinhala medium had a participation of 35 lead farmers from the Dioceses of Chilaw, Colombo, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Ratnapura and Galle while the Tamil-language workshop held at Agricultual Department Training Centre in Batticaloa from 21st to 23rd September was attended by 27 participants from the Dioceses of Kandy, Batticaloa, Badulla, Trincomalee, Jaffna (with Vanni) and Mannar. In Kunegala, a special exposure and orientation on livestock rearing was included by visiting the Wannigama Livestock Farm belonging to the Department of Animal Production and Health. As well, some field activities were conducted at the Regional Agricultural Research and Development Centre in Makandura which is one of the pioneering training centres in the country for organic fertilizer.
These training sessions have placed a special focus on the hazards of using chemical fertilisers and pesticides and encouraging farmers to adopt organic farming techniques such as compost fertilizer preparation (heap and pit systems, “jeewakotuwa” method, drum, pipe , bin and flower pot systems etc.), liquid fertilizer production (fish and fruit tonic, leaf extractions etc.), preparation of vermicompost and vrmiwash, preparation of pest repellants (tobacco,onion and margosa leaf solutions) and “3G” solutions ( ginger, garlic and green chillie).
The Caritas food security project has helped to create enthusiasm among farmers in the Dioceses of Kurunegala, Batticaloa and Anuradhapura to work towards self-reliance, to join in the struggle to overcome hunger and to ensure the right to food. Caritas Sri Lanka has joind the global campaign of Caritas Internationalis, the worldwide Confederation, to take forward its program “ONE HUMAN FAMILY, FOOD FOR ALL’.