Agri & Cultural tourism hot spot in the North

27th January 2020 at Hotel AKR, Kilinochchi

After a successful Introductory Session conducted on 17th December 2019 at Jayanthinagar North Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society, Kilinochchi, EFECS team was able to design a feasible Integrated Participatory Village Tourism Development Plan focussing on Jayanthinagar village by the active participation of the SANASA Society members. 

The programme was held on 27th January 2020 at Hotel AKR, Kilinochchi with the participation of Mrs. S M Subair, Assistant Commissioner of Kilinochchi District for Department of Cooperative Development. There were over 40 number of professionals engaged in tourism potential industries such as Palmyra handicrafts and products, Agriculture, Fisheries and Boat Safaris, Cab Services, Agri Farms were participated for this programme. Number of Officials from various branches of SDB in Northern Province also attended for this programme to obtain a general understanding on the project as well as to introduce SDB products available for SMEs.

Programme proceedings were commenced by lighting the traditional oil lamp by the distinguished guests.

Mr. Martin Mailhot, Value Chain Advisor, EFECS Project welcomed all participants at the forum and made the opening remarks of the gathering.

A detailed presentation on the Tourism Value Chain and potentials were brough by Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer (Tourism), EFECS Project with the assistance of Mr. Vishwanathan Sinthujan, Market Development Officer, EFECS Project.

Ms. Karthika Somasundaram, Project Extension Officer, SANASA Federation and Ms. Vibeeshana Yogarajah, Women Development Officer, SANASA Uththamavi also attended the programme.

Enumerators from University of Moratuwa, Department of Town & Country Planning presented a strategic tourism plan prepared with the engagement of the community in Jayanthinagar Area. Due to the existence of rich Agricultural lands, Closer proximity to the city centre and Surrounding area attraction locations, already the tourists have identified Kilinochchi as a possible destination in Northern province.

But due to declining traditional agriculture practices due to poor market opportunities, Poor condition of the road network, Lack of drinking water (Tap water), Vulnerability to drought (June – Aug) and Not having proper garbage collection system has created a negative image for Kilinochchi.

Comments & Suggestions by participants

“This project can work with Karachchi palmyra society and Coconut products society in Kilinochchi to develop a sustainable model for Agriculture Based Tourism” said Mr. S. M. Subair, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Cooperative Development addressing the audience.

“I have two Real Estate businesses and I had an idea of entering into Tourism. Although Kilinochchi doesn’t receive much tourism traffic, I found lots of opportunities to develop this industry by attending this session” said one of the potential entrepreneurs attended the forum.

We have all resources to develop tourism in our area, but we do not have sufficient financial support to do that. But with this new initiative, we would like to discuss with the other members of the society and see how we can implement this plan” said President of Jayanthinagar TCCS. “If you all are coming up with a workable business plan from a micro level according to the opportunities which we have presented today, project would see the best possibilities to support”, mentioned Vishwanathan Sinthujan responding to the President.

“Our society has over 480 members growing vegetables and fruits. Previously we just sold the raw materials but later on some of our members entered to value added products such as fruit juices and jams. Our members will be interested in focussing on tourism” said a representative of Agricultural Society participated at the forum. Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer (Tourism) suggested that this society may have lots of potentials in agro tourism.

“We produce diary products such as Milk, Yoghurt, Curd and Gee and our members are really interested in directing towards the tourism industry if there are any possible avenues using our farms and manufacturing areas” mentioned Mr. Santhirasekaram, President of livestock milk producer’s society.

“We have over 3000 farmers engaged in various agricultural activities. We provide required education and other services and I’m sure our members will be very positive if there were given more awareness on Tourism Industry. At the moment they are not engaged in tourism because in this district we do not receive many tourists, but the members will be happily engaged with this industry if they are given proper direction from this project” mentioned Mr. Sivakumar, Secretary, District cooperative society.

Our farmers produce value added products using Murunga, Gotugola, herbals (Lemon grass, thulsi), fruits, medicinal leaves. Even we have banana and papaya farms in 6-7 acres of land that can be promoted as a natural interesting experience for tourists. Nearly 600 members we have in our society, we are happy to work with this kind of a project where we can promote our agricultural productions and cultivations to the tourists” said Mr. Muralitharan, represented from the Farmers’ cooperative society, Vinayagapuram.

 “We see there are lots of tourism opportunities in Mannithalai area in this presentation, our society is very near to Mannithalai and we have around 1000 members engaged in agriculture and livestock in this area. Some time back we had boat service to carry passengers and at the moment also the fisheries society in this area will be willing to engaged in tourism activities if they were properly guided” expressed the General Manager of Poonagary cooperative society attended the programme.

Ms. Saranga, a fresh graduate attended the forum based on her interest to step into Tourism mentioned that she has a great desire to promote tourism in the south division of Jaffna and she collected lots of information on Eco and Agro Tourism Ideas from this session. She further explained that there are many other fresh graduates as well as undergraduates would like to join with this industry.

“We have many women interested in new avenues like tourism where most of them produce dairy products like, curd, yogurt, ghee, ice cream and juices” mentioned Ms. S.Kiriya, General Manager, Poonagary livestock society.

“Actually, this programme is very important for us because we have over 350 members producing bottle toddy, palmyra Jaggery & exporting to other countries also. Not only that we have number of women groups create palmyra handicraft in this area where they would prefer to engage in tourism” mentioned Mr. Yogalingam represented from the Palmyra cooperative society.

“We have 02 tourist boats with 10seats and hoody. All together we have 16 fisheries societies those who are capable in promoting tourism for lagoon safaris, fishing …etc. Actually, we are waiting to get engaged with this project to do some income generating activities related to Tourism” said Mr. Vaseekaran represented from the Poonagary fisheries union.

“If this project starts, all our members of 127 in the Kilinochchi Photography society would like to give our fullest cooperation and also we have 76 members in our transport service society where they can engage with a professional service” mentioned Mr. Selvarajah, a professional Photographer from Kilinochchi.