The government will be entering into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to commence organic farming in the Mahaweli ‘F’ Zone amidst concerns of farmers on the viability of the project.
According to a gazette notification issued in this regard, the Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga Mahaweli 'F' Zone has been declared a sustainable development area for organic agricultural products.
Therefore, organic vegetables, fruits, and other field crops are to be cultivated in the section of the Mahaweli ‘F’ Zone that is being developed under the Kalu (ganga) river development project.
The gazette has further noted that the required organic fertilizer is also expected to be manufactured within this zone and that farmers will be provided with necessary stocks of fertilizer by the government until such time.
These products would be supplied under the brand of “Mahaweli Knuckles Organic Products,” it is learnt.
"This covers around 3200 hectares of land. People who were displaced during the construction of the Moragahakanda Reservoir had been allowed to resettle on this land. A 1.5-acre plot of land and a quarter-acre plot to every farmer had been given under this initiative," a senior official of the Ministry of Mahaweli said.
However, several factions have protested over the government’s decision.
“An assessment has not been carried out concerning this. Will organic cultivation prove to be successful simply by issuing a gazette? If they are declaring this land for organic farming for the benefit of a few companies and to allow them to sell some products, we are ready to risk our lives in our fight against it,” environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said.
Farmers have also expressed their concerns regarding the matter, requesting authorities not to implement projects which would harm farmers in the long run.