Thursday, August 15, 2013

Report on Batticaloa visit

Team members Chandana Jayathilake from Wayamba University and Nuwan Waidyanatha from LIRNEasia recently visited famers in Batticaloa to talk about the difficulties they face in their daily activities.  Chandana's detailed report is posted here.

Some of the key observations that came of that meeting have an impact on the sustainability of agricultural practices.  Elephants, for example, are considered a serious threat both to crops and to seed storage.

The remote location also presents obstacles when it comes to making decisions about planting and cultivation, especially because there is very limited contact with agriculture officials.

Transportation is another concern, with limited access to means to get produce to market, farmers have few options but to accept the going rate for transport.

While mobile phone coverage is very good in the area, and most families have access to a mobile phone, Chandana was told that there are few reliable local sources of electricity.  As a result, families keep the phones off most of the time.

These are formidable challenges.  I am curious to know more about how these villages and the farming communities adopt innovative ways to address these concerns, understanding better their priorities and aspirations, and how low cost ICTs might play a useful, even if limited, role in improving their livelihoods.

It is interesting to view the images that Chandana has posted with his report.  The central presence of women at the meeting is significant.

Thank you for that report Chandana.

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