Creeping salinity damages 4000 hectares of Jaffna fertile land

[TamilNet, Saturday, 21 June 2003, 13:27 GMT]
More than 4500 hectares of fertile agricultural lands have turned saline in the past several years and have become unsuitable for cultivation, said S. Sinnathurai, Jaffna district assistant commissioner of agriculture in a meeting of the district Agricultural Society held in Jaffna secretariat, local papers reported.

This damaged area is equivalent to 11,250 acres (1 hectare = 10,000 square meters).

Salt water penetration from adjoining ocean waters, lack of maintenance of dams and sluice-gates built to control salt water instrusion and arable lands neglected for years without cultivation are some of the major causes of this calamity according to the commisioner.

On a positive note, Mr. Sinnathurai said that banana plantations have seen significant growth and the fruits exported to other districts are fetching good prices.

The representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization was requested to take steps to introduce drip-cultivation in 25 areas as the first phase of this effort.

Thenmaradchi district secretary, K.Ketheeswaran, said that plans to plant casuarina trees need to be urgently implemented in Upparu and surrounding areas to reduce problems caused by excessive dust during dry seasons. He also added that the creeping salinity has to be addressed in the Thenmaradchy areas.


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