Integrated Agriculture in Full Swing

Herath Mudiyanselage Jayasena 63 year old of Demodarayaya, in Horabokka Grama Niladari Division in Uva Pelwattta, in the Moneragala District is active in many of the existing village societies and has started to play a leading role in the newly established Demodarayaya CBO, hoping to participate actively in the Hope International Development Agency funded Integrated Agriculture project now in its closing stages. Already he is an enthusiastic beekeeper who has up to now extracted over 10 bottles of honey, all sold in and around the village. As his village abutting a forest is an ideal location for expanding existing apiaries he hopes to expand into more bee boxes individually while also enlisting more new beekeepers from his community to join the programme.

He expects the project to help them in providing training in skills and knowledge for improved management of honey bees, while also expecting some help in marketing of bees’ honey. Even at present Jayasena does help others in his village interested in getting into beekeeping.

Jayasena is equally adept at dairy farming and is already the owner of a herd of 4 cows and 4 calves. He sells 16 litres of milk daily to Milco, a State collector and distributor of milk active in the area. The local collection centre, of which he is an active member, has increased its membership from 9 to 200 over the recent past. They have also been able to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease in the area with the help of the local State Veterinary Services, thereby warding off the impending threat to the dairy industry, which unfortunately has already severely affected many adjoining districts in the country.

Jayasena is the cultivator of a a highland holding of 5 acres, leased out by him, where he has some coconut, sugarcane, and fifty mango trees of which thirty are already yielding an income a fruit been sold at Rs.15-25 to trucks visiting the farm. Jayasena has also borrowed Rs.100,000 from the local People’s Bank branch for expanding into passion fruit cultivation, which can be of immense help for an expanded beekeeping programme.