UNDP and Hayleys join hands to support resettled communities in Ampara

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Colombo, Sep.29 (ANI): An agreement was signed between Hayleys and the Akkaraipattu Seed Paddy Producers Society in Ampara on Monday.

According to the agreement, facilitated by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the organization will be supplying 15,000 bushels of seed paddy to be marketed by the company. This new partnership will not only help the company find new sources of agricultural inputs but at the same time help communities establish sustainable enterprises.

The agreement is part of a larger model of recovery being supported by UNDP in Sri Lanka. Major Sri Lankan companies are now in hot pursuit of new sources of agricultural inputs and UNDP is facilitating their partnership with local communities that are returning to their homes after the recent end of the decades-long conflict.

Corporates - which include conglomerates with global reach like Hayleys - want to help their country recover from the decades-long conflict while replacing imported products with less costly domestic inputs. UNDP is playing a catalyst role in building partnerships between these companies and the resettled communities, many of which are still recovering from the trauma of the decades-long conflict. This is seen by the authorities, the communities and the companies as a "home-grown solution", driven by the forces of supply and demand that will have lasting impact.

UNDP Country Director Douglas Keh, described the initiative as a key to sustainable recovery in Sri Lanka. "From humanitarian needs like food and blankets the requirements of the resettled communities are changing. The focus is now shifting to capacity building and training and physical infrastructure. The partnership with the private sector would help in building these capacities and create much needed infrastructure", he said.

Rizvi Zaheed, Director of Hayleys PLC who heads the Group's Agri Sector described the partnership as an important milestone in the broader engagement by Hayleys in the East of Sri Lanka. "With Hayleys' strength in marketing and agri extension services and UNDP's contribution towards capacity building this partnership is expected to contribute to sustained agricultural development in the identified areas."

The farmers' organization in Akkaraipattu consists of nearly 300 members who will be supplying the bushels of seed paddy to the ompany at a pre-determined price. UNDP, with funds allocated by the European Union, has invested in a seed paddy processing entre, storage facilities and other technical equipment. In order to take into account the special needs of conflict-affected ommunities UNDP is also coaching and mentoring them to fill capacity gaps to ensure the longevity of the partnership and full evelopment benefits for the local communities and ensuring equal distribution of benefits for all parties. (ANI)

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