EU and UN visit development projects in Batticaloa

Mahinda Amaraweera – Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development, M.L.A.M. Hizbullah – State Minister of Rehabilitation & Resettlement, Ms. Libuse Soukupova – Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation, Upali Mohotti – Chairman of the National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) inspect the tanks at the Multi-Species Marine Finfish Hatchery in Tharmapuram, Batticaloa

The European Union, represented by Ms. Libuse Soukupova, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Mohamed Muzain, Programme Manager, UNDP, visited a Traditional Food Sale Centre located in Chenkalady village.

The center which operates with the sole aim of increasing entrepreneurial skills of women has been built through the financial support of the EU-SDDP and implemented by the UNDP. There are currently 30 women who sell traditional foods using locally produced agro based products. The propose of the support has been to increase the living standards of women as well as to create more work opportunities and better income for the poor and marginalized communities, particularly women.

During the visit to Chenkalady, the EU and UN team also visited the newly renovated Fishermen Business Centre. The renovation has been supported by the EU-SDDP and the project has been implemented by the UNDP and is expected to benefit the members of the Chenkalady Coastal Fisheries Welfare Federation. With renovated ice plant facilities and activities such as capacity building of women and youth in entrepreneurship and marketing management, the centre aims at benefiting more than 4800 families, while enhanced income generation activities will reach at least 20,000 people.

Also during the visit to Batticaloa, 90 graduates who have successfully completed training on heavy equipment operation and modern dress making were awarded certificates at the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka (VTASL). The certificates were handed over by Ms. Libuse Soukupova, Mr. Lionel Pinto – Chairman of VTASL and Ms. Indra Tudawe from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the presence of Government Agent Mrs. P.S.M. Charles and other dignitaries. This initiative, in collaboration with Sri Lanka Institute of Textiles and Apparels (SLITA) and Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka, has been implemented by the International Labour Organisation with EU-SDDP support. In addition to this, 11 vocational centres in Batticaloa district are also being supported. It is to be noted that these courses are demand oriented and 60% of the 90 graduates trained (60 men and 30 women) are currently employed.

Ms. Libuse Soukupova – Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation & Ms. Nina Brandstrup – FAO Representative and Mahinda Amaraweera – Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development at the opening event.
Ms. Libuse Soukupova together with Ms. Nina Brandstrup who is the Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also attended the ceremonial opening of the Multi-Species Marine Finfish Hatchery in Tharmapuram, supported through the EU-SDDP. The Hatchery was inaugurated by the Minister of Fisheries Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera. The project has been implemented by FAO with the aim to fulfil the national requirement for the development of marine finfish farming in the country. The Hatchery has a capacity to produce 4 million fingerlings annually and is the largest Marine Finfish Hatchery in Sri Lanka. The establishment of the Hatchery will facilitate the development of marine aquaculture in the Eastern Province and island-wide, where fingerlings can be provided to fishers to further embark on marine pen, cage or pond culture. The National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) projects the total aquaculture production of the country to increase by around 5% with an increase in the country’s export earnings through the operations of the Finfish Hatchery. More than 1600 families are initially expected to benefit annually, with the number expected to grow.

The European Union and the FAO also inaugurated the Regional Livestock Training Centre in Kallady, Batticaloa. The new training center has a seating capacity for 65 trainees and is equipped with multimedia facilities. The Center will benefit 500 livestock farmers annually in the Batticalo district and 150 staff members of the Department of Animal Production and Health (Provincial). Trainings on all aspects of livestock farming such as poultry rearing, milk production, breeding, record keeping, healthcare and the introduction of new technologies will be conducted at the center.

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