Libuse Soukupova, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, arrives at the inauguration of the Palmyrah Pulp and Root Processing Centre and PalmyrahFibre Production Centre along with representatives from the UNDP and
The Palmyrah Fibre Production Centre, and Palmyrah Pulp and Root Processing Centre in Tharavankoddai, Mannar district, were inaugurated by the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Libuse Soukupova recently.
These facilities have been supported by the UN in collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka through funding from the European Union under the Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP), with an aim to foster local trade and rapid economic growth in the District of Mannar.
Within the framework of the EU-SDDP, UNDP and FAO are focused on increasing income generation within the District by supporting agriculture, livestock and fisheries related economic activities. While the Palmyrah Fibre Production Centre was facilitated by the FAO, the Palmyrah Pulp and Root Processing Centre was facilitated by the UNDP, in close partnership with local government counterparts.
The production centres will benefit the community in Tharavankoddai, where a majority of the people rely on Palmyrah based production for their primary source of income. The main objective of establishing both the Palmyrah Fibre Production, and Pulp and Root Processing Centersis to create employment opportunities for vulnerable women and to promote women-enterprise development in the District of Mannar.
The Palmyrah Pulp and Root Processing Centre will be owned and operated by the 34 members of IllamThallir Palmyrah Products Producers Society, a vulnerable women’s producer group. The women entrepreneurs are being trained to manage these operations including technology acquisition, supply chain management, financial management and marketing. The center is expected to process around 4000-5000kg of export grade roots per annum.Through this support the Producer Group has already begun exporting 500 kg and this is expected to increase as their production improves.
Speaking at the event, Itziar Gonzalez, FAO Policy Officer / FAO Representative to Sri Lanka and the Maldives acting-in- charge, said, “the Center, managed by a producer’s society led by local women, will improve their capacities to obtain higher productivity and better quality of products, and to establish stronger linkages with different markets, substantially contributing to enhance the living standards of their families and their communities.”
Speaking at the event, Libuse Soukupova, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives stated, “the support to women’s producer group through this project and in turn, their ability to make a significant impact on their income is very encouraging. The EU is very pleased to partner with FAO and UNDP and we hope that their success is replicated by others in Mannar.”
Also during their visit, in Uyilankulam, Mannar district, Libuse Soukupova handed over equipment provided through the support of FAO to the Veterinary Training Centre facilitated by the UNDP. This Centre and the equipment will support the Extension Services officered by Department of Animal Production and Health to over 1000 farmers in the area who are involved in cattle and poultry breeding and milk production.
Commenting on the support provided, Mohamed Muzain, Programme Manager, UNDP Sri Lanka, stated that “the strengthening of government services by enhancing local capacities and resources remains an important priority for the UNDP, which has been a development partner for Sri Lanka for over five decades. Through our collaboration with the EU and other UN agencies we are pleased to enable the achievement of sustainable human development for the people of Mannar district”.
At the ceremony, M. Muzain presented the newly launched Five-Year District Development Plan of Mannar District, which was facilitated by the UNDP under the EU-SDDP, enabling local priorities to inform result based planning and monitoring at the district level.