Dambulla farmers have taken steps this year to cultivate only one-fifth of the paddy fields under the Dewahuwa Reservoir.
According to Dewahuwa paddy farmers, this is due to fuel shortages as well as the lack of chemical fertilisers and other agricultural requirements.
Devahuwa Reservoir was built many years ago to irrigate paddy lands and was a business venture where five acres of paddy land was donated to farmers. The farmers say the Dewhuwa Reservoir irrigates paddy fields in both the North Central and Central Provinces and claim that they have never experienced anything like this before.
Irrigation officials provided water from the reservoir for paddy cultivation. Despite having an abundance of water, farmers claim that despite having five acres of paddy fields, they are now only cultivating one acre.
Farmers also claim that they cultivate one acre solely to feed their families. They point out that there are 460 plots of paddy land under the five-acre-per-farmer business.
They also pointed out that, despite the hard work and high cost of cultivation, the price of a kilo of paddy in their area has dropped to Rs 105, while the price of a kilo of rice has increased.
Farmers have been completely subjugated by black market racketeers, and chemical fertiliser costs between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 in their area. Farmers say they could not cultivate paddy at such a high price and that if the Government takes immediate action to address the current food crisis, chemical fertiliser and fuel should be provided immediately.
By K. K. Ariyadasa – Dambulla