In Killinochichi we set up a community farm for 20 families with our local partner LEADS. This project provides land and equipment for families to farm fruit and vegetables to sell to local markets. We had to find the land, sign agreements for use, clear the land, clean the wells and get people back into farming.
One of the key issues we faced in this project was securing land for the families to work on. We had a number of issues in finding land that was appropriate and available for use. The initial area we had selected was given to us by the local government only to be reallocated when the government’s priorities changed. We ended up entering into a legal agreement with a private landowner who had left the region and was happy to have his land be used rather than becoming overgrown.
There are significant areas of land in the Northern Province that are owned by people who have left Sri Lanka and are no longer being used.
The families planted bananas and peanuts on the land which they were able to sell at the local market. For some this was the first time in many years that they where able to do this.
When we spoke to the farmers they all wanted to be able to provide more for their children so they could have a better life than themselves.