U.S. Government links farmers to new markets and a brighter future
Colombo - January 06, 2010: The U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed new markets for farmers in Kebithigollawa, Anuradhapura District to sell their produce, raising incomes for farmers and creating new long??term partnerships with Sri Lankan food companies.
USAID, the development agency of the U.S. Government, rehabilitated the Ulpatha Fruit and Vegetable Collection Center, creating a central collection location for Kebithigollawa area farmers. USAID also linked local farmers with John Keells Supermarkets and Plenty Foods, providing technical training to prepare 200 farmers to sell directly to the companies. These new relationships have given farmers a stable market for their products at higher prices and have increased their incomes. Sunethra Priyaradshani, a benefiting farmer said, "There was an abundance of fruits and vegetables in our village, but we did not get a reasonable price for our produce from the middlemen. Thanks to USAID, now we get a better price for our yield." Rebecca Cohn, USAID Mission Director, noted the long-term benefit of this partnership. "USAID developed this new relationship between private sector companies and area farmers, and this partnership will continue after our project is completed. The improved Collection Center is reducing processing and transportation costs and increasing farmers' incomes. Food companies have access to a consistent supply of quality produce, consumers have more choices, and farmers receive a stable, fair price for their fruits and vegetables. Everybody wins from this partnership."
The Center is the first of its kind in the area, benefiting not only the participating farmers, but also the 3000 members of the Kebithigollawa Integrated Rural Development Organization (KIRDO) through increased revenues and training. "I see a major change in the thinking pattern of the farmers in the villages since USAID intervened to provide training and to encourage them to improve their income. I am grateful to USAID for helping the farmers of Kebithigollawa, in making their lives better," said U.P. Rajakaruna Basnayake, the head of KIRDO.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided development and humanitarian assistance in developing countries worldwide for nearly 50 years. Since 1956, USAID/Sri Lanka has invested nearly $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.