Engagement and knowledge transfer between Fruits/Vegetable farmers of the North & South
LIRNEasia in association with Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust (NTT) conducted research program which promotes participatory knowledge sharing processes and social integration among fruits and vegetable farmers connected to export value chains in the North and South. The objective is to promote reconciliation through use of videos of oral histories of past economic relationships and their rupture during the conflict.
An opportunity to build stronger links between North and South emerged with the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka. The premise underlying this study is that farmers from North and South sharing experiences and getting to know each other will contribute to reconciliation in a more sustainable manner than activities that begin and end with political issues.
The activities covered intended to enable farmers and firms from the South who are connected to lucrative export value chains to share their experiences with farmers in the North, to create opportunities for greater earnings. Thus, promoting economic and social linkages between North and South.
Reconciliation discussion through use of videos of oral histories of past economic relationships and their rupture during the conflict
Most young farmers do not know about inter relationship between North & South prior to the conflict. As a result, LIRNEasia team felt there is value in documenting these experiences before the witnesses pass on. A ten-minute documentary was prepared highlighting how people engaged in trade relationship in the past. Northern Farmers and southern traders shared their experience of their interactions. This documentary was used to facilitate discussion during the north-south interactions happened during the capacity development program.
Interactive workshop Northern & Southern Farmers
Two interactive training sessions were conducted in Jaffna and Negombo with the participation of over 45 export potential farmers from North & South. Successful GAP certified farmers from south travelled to share their success stories and motivate Jaffna based farmers to join export value chain.
Interactive sessions were conducted to engage two groups of farmers to share their common believes of attitude towards agriculture. In addition, full day training provided on thematic areas of quality concerns in production, value chain development, establishing linkages, new management and marketing techniques, technological intervention and negotiation skills.
In the same manner, export potential farmers from Jaffna travelled to South to take part in training session and field visits.
Field visit and learning by Northern Farmers to GAP certified farm lands
Farmers from North never had the opportunity to visit the farm fields in South and interact with the Sinhala farmers in South. One of the goals of this Research program is give such exposure. LIRNEasia team took northern farmers to GAP certified farmlands in Chilaw and Dankotuwa areas. This ‘learning visits’ was helpful to increase farmers’ exposure to new approaches. Combining indoor training and practical application in the field resulted in better understanding for farmers.
Expected outcome from the program
Agriculture is the livelihood for many residing in the northern region (40 percent of labour force in Jaffna District). Growth can only be revived by strengthening the networking capacity of farmers. The activities conducted through this research program will enable farmers from North and South to understand each other better. It will contribute to reconciliation through more sustainable engagement and trade. The research program expected to enhance the chances of local farmers to be part of export value chains, thus supporting inclusive and accessible markets, value and supply chains for local communities and expanding economic opportunities for local/marginalized communities.
A full presentation of our findings from this project can be found here