Thursday, October 18, 2012

Drought hits northern rice farmers in Sri Lanka

IRIN: Officials in northern Sri Lanka’s Vavuniya District say 60 percent of the rice harvest could be lost if the dry weather continues.  “In Mannar District [in the north] we have records indicating that between 5,000 to 6,000 paddy hectares of the cultivated 10,000 are lost,” Ravi Vinanithambi, an environment officer for the North East Reawakening Programme (NERP – part of the Ministry of Economic Development), told IRIN.

Residents report no significant rain in the region for over eight months. In some villages like Visvamadhu in Kilinochchi District, they say the last rains of any substance were in September-November 2011.

“This year has been a big problem because most of the people in the region depend on agriculture heavily,” Vinanithambi said, noting despite some rains earlier this week,they needed several weeks to fill dried-up wells and reservoirs.

According to the most recent Sri Lanka Labour Force Survey released on 11 October by the government’s Census and Statistics Department, more than 37 percent of the over one million people in Northern Province depend on agriculture as their main source of livelihood…

A combine harvester at a rice farming collective in Kalmunai, Sri Lanka, shot by Frantishak, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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