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Press Release

February 21, 2011

Stakeholders Meet to Plan Future Reconstruction and Development Activities in Jaffna JICA and Jaffna District Secretariat Host Workshop

PhotoParticipants at the workshop

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) together with the District Secretariat of Jaffna recently hosted a workshop titled, "Workshop for Development in Jaffna district" providing over 100 stakeholders from the government, private sector, international community and civil society with an opportunity to contribute to the development of a holistic plan to further assist reconstruction and development activities in the district, in northern Sri Lanka.

The participants at the workshop built on an initial outline of the plan, drafted by stakeholders based on feedback gathered during workshops, lessons learnt from pilot projects, and information and statistics collected during field visits.

Once finalized in August 2011, the plan is expected to serve as a practical and effective tool in guiding and directing further reconstruction and future development initiatives in the district.

"Various agencies are implementing a number of development and rehabilitation projects in the district. Weekly coordination meetings are held to review available resources, prioritize needs, identify sectors that need immediate attention and strengthen assistance to resettling and resettled communities. However, there was a need to organize a forum at regional level with the participation of all stakeholders. We therefore requested JICA to organize this event. This is also the first such event held in Jaffna for implementing partners after I took up post in July 2010",said Ms Emelda Sukumar, Government Agent of the Jaffna district.

Participants at the workshop in groups, discussed short, mid and long term strategies, targets and goals in recovering agricultural production levels (vegetable, fruits, paddy, coconut, cashew, palmyrah and other food crops) and the fisheries sector, developing manufacturing industries and empowering communities in the district.

"There was intensive and productive participation at the workshop and this has given us an opportunity to learn about challenges at divisional and regional levels. I hope that the donor community will come forward with support aligned with Sri Lanka's requirements and act strategically once the plan is translated into action", said Ms Manisha Gunasekera, Director General, Ministry of Economic Development speaking at the workshop.

Highlights from the recommendations proposed at the workshop include:

Agriculture
The draft outline for Jaffna’s agricultural sector included vegetables and fruits production in highland, lowland paddy production, sandy soil agriculture at outlying islands and coastal areas, and livestock production. The recommendations proposed by the groups are as follows:

  • Providing a stable supply of input for instance free seedlings to IDPs and returnees (palmyrah, cashew, coconuts), increasing the supply of locally produced quality vegetable/fruit seeds and planting materials, rehabilitation of plantations and cultivations, strengthening private nurseries and encouraging mini poultry breed farms, subsidized fertilizer, establishment of integrated farms and on a long term basis conducting various studies
  • Improvement of production technology and infrastructure such as mobile training and veterinary units, appropriate post harvest technology, reconstruction of housing facilities setting up of feed resource centres and drainage systems
  • Improvement of marketing techniques by conducting surveys to identify potential markets, strengthening sales outlets and networks (milk, paddy)
  • Strengthening of community based organizations related to paddy, fruits, vegetables and livestock and public service providers were also considered important during discussions.

Fishing
The participants identified the following among other immediate, mid and long term recommendations in Jaffna's fishing industry which consists of coastal and off shore fishing and aquaculture.

  • Developing and rehabilitation of facilities such as landing centres, harbours, fish auctions
  • Involvement of socially vulnerable people in the activities
  • Introduction of multiday boats and promotion of locally produced multi day boat yards
  • As there is no or less aquaculture activity in the district recommencement of such activity

Manufacturing Industry
Under this, priority was given to agro, construction and lightmetal industries during discussions. Main recommendations included:

  • Skill development in fields such as fish processing, agro food industries
  • Improving ongoing training programmes so that upon completion of the training employment opportunities are available. With regard to training programmes training in sectors like light metal, handicrafts, curriculum development and apprenticeships, provision of training equipment and recruiting qualified lecturers and instructresses should also be taken into consideration.
  • Rehabilitation of damaged industries
  • Establishing linkages with producers to strengthen marketing mechanisms
  • Ensuring financial support such as credit facilities from local institutions and introduction of collateral support

Community Development
The participants affirmed that all projects focusing on improving living standards of the community should be formulated and afterwards implemented with a community approach, and that stakeholders should make efforts to ensure all community development projects lead towards strengthening of civil society, good governance and democracy at all levels.

The Director General of the Economic Development Ministry, The Government Agent of Jaffna, Representatives from Government ministries, departments and corporations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and international organizations, academia and the media participated at this event.

PhotoPhotoParticipants during work group discussions


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