12th September 2017 17:38:32 Hours
Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock of the Army on a conceptual suggestion, made by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, has launched a regular programme to distribute useful seedlings and saplings of economic value among all recruits who pass out upon completion of their respective training modules.
The new initiative, designed under the thematic project slogan, ‘Eco Pioneer Green Soldier Project’ is meant to assist efforts to enhance Sri Lanka’s forest coverage to be in line with the government’s policy and also to inculcate the habit of tree-planting among Army personnel as a means to boost their own economic prospects. Each recruit before departure from the training school of the training course is to be awarded those saplings along with a valuable certificate, signed by the Commander of the Army, according to Brigadier Buwaneka Gunaratne, Director, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock after a special oath on the conservation of the environment was taken by the trainee.
While plans have been set in motion to distribute more than 37,500 saplings of Mahogany, Kaaya, Mee, Bulu, Teak, Margosa, Jak, Del, Cashew, Guava, Lime, Drumsticks, Kathuru Murunga, Coffee, Arecanut, Dragon Fruit, Curry Leaves, Woodapple, Beli, Oranges, White Sandal, Custard Apple, Domba, Kithul, Olive, Lovi, Gaduguda, Rose Apple, etc during the rest of this year, the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock has already given away 8,000 such saplings to more than 786 Army trainees through Army training schools at Henanigala, Diyatalawa, Dambulla and Pangolla in the recent past.
Sri Lanka Army in 2010 founded a separate section for Agriculture and Livestock development under the Sri Lanka Army General Service Corps with the objective of promoting the agricultural sector in the Army in a more systematic way after commencing several farms. It received more teeth in November 2011 after a separate Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock was founded for the purpose of further promoting enthusiasm for agricultural work among Army personnel.
As at present, 6 Army farms, involved in production of paddy, dairy, eggs, vegetables and fruits are run by the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock.