By MANOHARI KATUGAMPALA
The prolonged use of chemical fertilizer has destroyed the natural richness of the ground soil. The consumption of a poisonous diet has led to an ailing society. The country has also lost a large sum of foreign exchange with the import of chemical fertilizer.
Preparing farmers to use organic fertilizer would protect the country both health-friendlily and economically. In order to support the country’s farming community and cultivation, the Sri Lanka Army has recently commenced several organic fertilizer production projects at islandwide camp premises. These days, the Army is busy producing organic fertilizer at all Security Forces Headquarters (SFHQ) camp premises.
Empowering and implementing the Government’s policy of encouraging the organic fertilizer production process, the Army has launched a mega project to produce 25,000 metric tonnes of compost fertilizer for the forthcoming Maha season. These main projects are being carried out by the Army troops at SFHQ levels.
The National Policy Framework Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour put forward by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa mentions that to produce a healthy and productive citizenry, the Government must ensure the right of the people to access a non-toxic and balanced diet. To achieve this objective, the Government has taken measures to support the initiative that the agriculture sector in the country should resort to organic fertilizer in the future.
In line with this vision and guidance of the Government, the Organic Fertilizer Production Project was inaugurated by Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander General Shavendra Silva in coordination with the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock of the Army.
This project expects to increase sustainable crop production, improve long-term soil fertility for better farmer livelihood, alleviate rural poverty and reduce the foreign exchange drain on chemical fertilizer imports and improve community awareness on the advantages of organic fertilizer. The Army expects to provide technical support to local farmers for the production of organic fertilizer shortly.
Composting is the natural decomposition process of organic materials by microorganisms under controlled conditions. Raw organic materials such as crop sediment, animal wastes, green manure, aquatic plants, industrial waste, city waste, and food garbage enhance their suitability for application to the soil as a fertilizing resource, after having undergone composting. The end product of the process is compost which has a high value in agriculture.
In keeping with the President’s vision to promote organic fertilizer production, the project was initiated on May 16, 2021 with the participation of women soldiers following the directions of the Commander Security Forces - East. Sri Lanka Army troops of 5 Sri Lanka Women’s Corps under the Security Forces Headquarters - East, Welikanda produced 160,000 kilogrammes of organic fertilizer.
This project which was conducted directly under the supervision of the Agriculture Directorate plans to produce 25 tonnes of organic fertilizer initially. The fertilizer produced by this project will be utilised for agricultural projects launched by the Army and will also be made available for the farming community in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Army has contributed to the production of 1,386,996 kilogrammes of organic fertilizer in camps islandwide. Under the programme, 500 kilogrammes from 1 Corps Sri Lanka Army, 307,750 kilogrammes from Security Force Headquarters (West), 132,750 kilogrammes from Security Forces Headquarters (East), 122,195 kilogrammes from Security Forces Headquarters (Mullaitivu), 100,000 kilogrammes from Security Forces Headquarters (Jaffna), 108,800 kilogrammes from Security Forces Headquarters (Central), 166,500 kilogrammes from Security Forces Headquarters (Wanni), and 448,500 kilogrammes from Army farms islandwide have been gathered.
The project has been commenced with the aim of increasing crop productivity, improving soil fertility, reducing chemical fertilizer imports, generating organic materials such as green manure, animal manure etc, minimising environmental pollution, increasing farmer incomes for better livelihood and alleviating poverty.
Further, the Army expects to increase food crop production, farmer income, and organic fertilizer production, cut down chemical fertilizer imports per year, improve long-term soil fertility, minimise soil degradation, and minimise environmental pollution by adopting correct waste management practices.
The Army’s contribution to the Sri Lankan agriculture sector is multifaceted. In the future too, the Defenders of the Nation will continue their community projects for a healthy nation and a better future in coordination with the civil communities.
Courtesy - www.dailynews.lk