I would like to bring to notice of the Hon. Minister and the House some questions about the expenditure of the Agriculture and Cooperative Department relevant to the Hambantota District.
First of all Hon. Minister, I believe that you have a tremendous task ahead of you to develop and build up the rural economy of the Hambantota District. Because the people living in the areas which we represent are very poor.80% of the people living in the Weerakatiya, Katuwana areas which come under the purview of the Assistant Government Agent depend on food stamps. However, each of these families has at least a minimum of 1/2 acre to 2 acres of land. Unfortunately no government has been able to focus their attention in helping these people get the best out of their lands.
Speaking of Ruhuna, I must firstly mention about the Ruhuna Curd. The highest curd production happens in Ruhuna’s Hambantota District. Those involved in the production of curd are facing tremendous hardships today. The lack of grass for their cattle has made them to leave our areas and look for grass in areas such as Lunugamvehera, Sooriyaewa or Thanamalwila in the Wellawaya area at certain times of the year. They take their cattle in to the wilderness and go through tremendous hardships in feeding the cattle and selling the milk from the cattle to earn a living for their families. But now various industries have arrived and this has been changed. People who had large livestock are now selling them. Since there is no grassland to feed the cattle there was a massive grassland area allocated for this purpose in the Weeraketiya and Katuwana areas of the Mulkirigala Electorate. But since of late these grasslands have become turned in to jungles. No one uses them. Some people have forcefully acquired these lands. Because of this people who rear cattle have no way of feeding them. I have some statistical data on the number of cattle according to the villagers in Kudagama of the Hambantota District. These statistics were taken in 1987. I do not know if these are accurate. According to this, in the estate sector there are 709 cows but the normal village folk own 52,964 cattle. The estate sector has 1263 buffaloes while the small people have 27,054. In 1987 1,585,030 litres of milk had been produced. They are faced with great difficulties in selling the milk they produce. I think there are only 2 milk collection centres in the Hambantota District. In Tissamaharama and Ambalanthota. But places such as Weeraketiya have been deprived of this. There are also a huge number of people whose lives depends on the dairy industry. So I would like to bring to the attention of the Hon. Minister to sympathetically look in to those families in areas such as Weeraketiya, Tangalle and Katuwana whose livelihoods depend on the dairy industry and look in to providing them with the necessary facilities as well. I would also like to request that facilities be provided to them to grow good quality grass.
Hon. Chairman, I recently went to the Ridiyagama Farm.
Hon. Member of Parliament, you have just one minute remaining.
Hon. Minister, this animal farm is in a very sorry state today. So I would finally like to request from you to develop farms such as Ridiyagama, Weerawila, Middeni, BataAtha in the Hambantota District and arrange the needful for the poor destitute people living in those areas to benefit from it.« PrevNext »