The Murunkan Seed and Planting Material Development Centre “Murunkan Seeds Farm” commenced its operations in February 2010 after the war, with the production and marketing of seeds of various kinds. The Murunkan farm initiated a rice seed production programme using the farm as a nucleus. The initial thrust of the Murunkan Seed and Planting Material Development Centre was to develop a sound rice seed business. The reconstruction and renovation of the Centre, after the war, was supported by the Government of Japan (JAICA).
Rice is the staple food of the inhabitants of Sri Lanka. Paddy crop is cultivated as a wetland crop in all the districts. The total land devoted for paddy is estimated to be about 708,000 Hectares at present. There are two cultivation seasons namely; Maha and Yala which are synonymous with two monsoons. Maha Season falls during “North-east monsoon” from September to March in the following year. Yala season is effective during the period from May to end of August. Within a short period of time, Murunkan Seeds farm became a major player in the national rice seed supply system with a production of 6,000 bushals of seeds per season.
Initial investigation revealed that the seed farm authorities found landmines while harvesting the Sun hemp seeds and then notified the Regional Mine Action Office during the past three months. In response, FSD was tasked to help the Seed Farm authorities to build a safe environment to continue their cultivation plan and produce seeds of grain, chilies, black gram, fruit crops, jack fruit and lemon.
The Seeds Farm provides seed paddy to farmers to start cultivations and, farmers provide the community with fresh food and sell back seed paddy to Murunkan Farm for development in production of seeds. The Seeds Farm runs training and equipment demonstrations for small and large scale vegetable production to help new farmers make the best investments.
FSD was also requested to clear a 35ft well in the farm premises which was the only water source facilitated grain cultivations. “We assured them, that FSD will support maximum in their hour of need and ensure safe drinking water from the well in these drying days. Unless, there is no any other possibility for water resources nearby” said Noel Peacock, Technical Advisor FSD.
The multipurpose demining teams have almost completed the job and finalizing the reports to handover the land in the nearest future. FSD deployed a Rake machine to remove all common obstacles for follow-up clearance. This action is entirely supported by the embassy of Japan as FSD used the Japanese supported assets and employees to carry out the task. “More than 70% of the population in the Northern region community in Sri Lanka depends on agriculture for household food security, livelihoods, and incomes. Great to be of help for the seed farm and hope our efforts will improve the performance of the agricultural sector includes seed production and delivery systems.” added Zak Johnson, the Operations Manager FSD.
While thanking the Government of Japan, FSD hopes that the land release will contribute to the improvement, efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of seed systems in the region.