The first-ever Agro Technology Park in Sri Lanka set up at Bata Atha, Hungama in the Hambantota district, trains paddy farmers on modern technological farming methods, which cover machine paddy plant transplanting, parachute method of paddy cultivation, hand transplanting and also traditional methods of transplanting.
The facility was established on the initiative of the then minister of agriculture, Chamal Rajapaksa and hence, it was named ‘Chamal Rajapaksa AgroTechnology Park’. It was set up by the information and communication center of the department of agriculture as a tribute to the farming community.
The assistant director of agriculture, K. R. W. Keerthi, the OIC of the park, said that the idea behind the setting up this agro technological complex was to provide knowledge and new technological techniques to the farming community and also to make tvisiting tourists aware of the traditional methods of farming.
He said that an orchard has been set up to grow under utilized fruit such as Veralu, Uguressa, Madan, Hibatu, Galsiyabala, Anoda and Nelli. In addition, papaya, mango, pineapple and rambutan are also grown.
The assistant director said that a model traditional chena has been created, where maize, cowpea and kurakkan are cultivated throughout the year. In the garden, there is a variety of wet and dry zone flowers. At the commercial vegetable cultivation unit, dry and wet zone vegetables are cultivated successfully despite the dry weather conditions in Hambantota district by using a sprinkler water system. A traditional home garden is also being maintained.
This agro technology park has proved to be a boon to the farming community not only in Hambantota district but also to those in neighboring districts, Keerthi explained.