Mar 27, 2008 (LBO) – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is teaming up with Sri Lanka’s Hayleys group to lift rural subsistence farmers into commercial high value agriculture, the US embassy in Colombo said. The first pilot project will start in April involving 120 farmer families in two of Sri Lanka’s poorest districts in Ampara in the Eastern province and Moneragala in the Uva province.
The farmers will grow gherkins, pineapples and jalapeno peppers in 50 acres of land that had been fallow or used for subsistence farming.
Some of the farmers have been affected by the internal conflict in the island. The US embassy said the project will teach modern agricultural practices and help farmers boost incomes by switching to cash crops.
The Hayleys group’s agribusiness units have run out-grower programs. The group is an exporter of high value agricultural products.
“Our partnership with Hayleys … will help build a value chain that will bring sustainable economic growth to those in serious need in the Eastern and Uva provinces,” USAID’s Sri Lanka Director Rebecca Cohn was quoted as saying in a statement.
“(This) is one way in which people can move up the path from poverty to prosperity.”