Business Times

Vavuniya North Multi-Purpose Coop. to support more than 2,000 paddy farmers

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society (MPCS) of Vavuniya North have joined forces to re-tool a major rice milling operation damaged during the years of Sri Lanka’s civil conflict.

The agreement, worth Rs 10.76 million, was formally signed by the ILO and MPCS to cover the costs of procurement and installation of the rice milling equipment, according to an ILO statement. When completed in January 2012, the rice mill at Nedunkeni, Vavuniya North will be capable of processing 4,000 metric tons of raw paddy per annum.

This will directly create 20 new jobs at the mill and will have a direct and positive impact on the incomes of an estimated 2,000 paddy farmers in the area. This agreement is viewed by the ILO as a first step in a long term integrated support package to the cooperative movement in the Northern Province.

Technical Support for the selection, procurement and installation of equipment is being provided by the Institute of Post-Harvest Technology Research and Development in Anuradhapura. The three-year Local Empowerment through Economic Development Project (LEED) is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations and the ILO. It is funded by the Government of Australia, the ILO said.

The cooperative sector is viewed by the ILO as a key stakeholder and partner in the Government’s reconstruction efforts in the Northern Province. The ILO is supporting cooperatives as a partner in empowering communities to seek new and sustainable approaches that respond to their aspirations for decent work.

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