Ms. A.B. Renuka of Unawatuna, Buttala, is an active member of the Unawatuna Community Based Organization associated with the local NGO Wellassa Kantha Sahayogitha Padanama implementing the SLCDF supported Integrated Agriculture Project funded by Hope International Development Agency (HIDA). She is married to Y.D. Wijeratne and have been blessed with a daughter aged eleven years and two sons, aged 5 years and the youngest 2 months.
She has benefited immensely from two training programmes relating to conservation farming provided under the project.
She was also given a small loan by the NGO to be utilized for developing her homestead. She was able to grow banana, green chillies, and some varieties of yams in her home garden and as a result saved around Rs.1000 from the monthly marketing budget. The banana crop provided good income for the family.
Eventually she was also given a cow which by now is providing daily 4 litres of milk. The milk is sold, after the family consumes a little, to Pelwatte Dairy Farms, earning a monthly income of around Rs.5000. Out of this she has to pay back Rs.8000 to the NGO in small instalments of Rs.600, to be revolved to other related activities in the project, and in addition she has to donate the first born female calf to another pre-selected trained dairy farmer in the village.
Renuka says emphatically that the family is now more united than ever with the bountiful cow they now have. She considers the cow as the greatest asset they ever received. The family hopes to expand the dairy farming in the coming months and educate the children well with the additional income flowing in.