Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: USAID gives Batticaloa improved opportunities for trade

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BATTICALOA, EASTERN SRI LANKA, 2008-11-12 - One of the main sources of income for the Batticaloa Municipal Council is now restored to full capacity following the official opening of the Batticaloa Municipal Market on November 12, 2008 by USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn.

A bustling marketplace since 1948, the Batticaloa market has been badly affected by repeated natural and man-made disasters since the late 1970's. With the successful completion of major rehabilitation activities, the market can now attract both vendors and customers with its new fruit and vegetable stalls, a new fish market, a state-of-the-art water treatment system, a cold room for the fish market, a central courtyard, and a fully rehabilitated building.

Throughout the process, USAID has worked closely with the Batticaloa Municipal Council, the Batticaloa Chamber of Commerce, and the Eastern University. With a pre-construction daily turnover of about $15,000, the market is a major contributor to the local economy and tax base, and new agreements between vendors and local officials will ensure that revenues generated by the market will provide for its long-term sustainability.

USAID has provided over $475,000 to improve the Batticaloa Municipal Market, resulting in facilities that the residents of this conflict- and tsunami-affected city can take pride in. "There are more people selling and more people buying now since the market was restored" said vegetable vendor N. Ravindran. "Thanks to USAID, my daily income has increased," he smiled.

To pull together what was required for a successful market, USAID conducted a series of preparatory meetings with all stakeholders to discuss the needs of the vendors and community, as well as the design of the market itself. The result is a market with improved health and sanitation, reduced congestion, improved waste management, and more parking for loading and unloading of produce, fish, and meats.