Sri Lanka village producers helped by Japanese volunteers

Jan 05, 2012 (LBO) – A team of Japanese volunteers had helped village level producers to develop new products and upgrade designs to get higher prices, the Japan International Co-operation agency said. Three volunteers had worked with the island’s Samurdhi Authority, a poverty alleviation agency, to help families in several areas.

These volunteers had helped rural producers in several locations including Udunuwara, Yatinuwara, Pathadumbara, Pathahewaheta and Weligama.

Fumika Kikuchi, designer had guided traditional craftsmen to develop new products that appealed to high-end clients in Colombo and foreign tourists.

“This enabled producers to earn higher profit margins compared with profits made through products with traditional designs,” JICA said.

Another volunteer Toshiharu Sato, a food processing specialist who worked in Weligama had helped producers develop a new king coconut (thembili) jelly which became popular amongst tourist .

Kentaro Takeda, who worked in Pathadumbara introduced a new design of cloth bag to some producers who were able to earn an additional income through the sale of these bags.

“The activities of JICA volunteers have helped rural producers deve