Sri Lanka agriculture, fishing revive in former war zone

Nov 10, 2009 (LBO) – Farmers and fishermen have been among the main borrowers under a Sri Lankan government loan scheme to revive economic activity in the former northern war zone, the Central Bank said. It said in a statement that a total of 1,875 loans valued at 264 million rupees has been disbursed under the ‘Vadakkin Wasantham’ (Awakening North) loan scheme by the state-owned People’s Bank and Bank of Ceylon.

Out of the total granted, 47 percent of loans (890) have been disbursed for agricultural purposes while 28 percent (524) were for trade and service sector activities.

“In agriculture, farmers have shown a keen interest to obtain loans for fruit cultivation, i.e. grapes and banana and livestock development activities.”

The balance 25 percent (461 loans) has been obtained by borrowers in the fisheries, small and micro-industries sectors in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The special loan package launched in July, 2009 is being implemented with loans up to 200,000 rupees being granted at an interest rate of 12 percent a year, with repayment over a period of five years.

The peninsula was cut off from the mainland for years as Tamil Tiger separatists controlle