News

Food crisis: CMC to cultivate 9 acres in Colombo

  • Potatoes and veggies for capital
  • Pvt. property owners to cultivate land

By Skandha Gunasekara

The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has earmarked nine-and-a-half acres of its land to cultivate crops in an effort to combat the impending food shortage.

CMC Director Engineering – Industrial A.D.S. Rohana told The Sunday Morning that the CMC would cultivate potatoes and vegetables and planned to work with the Department of Agriculture to procure seeds.

“We will be cultivating in all available lands under the purview of the CMC. The total will be around nine-and-a-half acres of land in various locations. We are looking to cultivate vegetables and potatoes – any type of vegetable that will grow in the low country. However, we are facing a shortage of seeds. We have reached out to the Agricultural Department to procure seeds when they are available.”

Further, he said that 6,850 undeveloped private lands had been identified and the CMC would be requesting the owners to plant crops as well.

“We have identified 6,850 unused private lands under the jurisdiction of the CMC. We will be making a request from the owners of these lands to utilise these lands to cultivate crops. We will also be asking those who have gardens within their homes to grow crops in whatever way they can.”

He added that the CMC would be calling on the masses to cut down on exorbitant consumption and reduce food wastage.

“Another serious issue is food waste in the city of Colombo. It has been ascertained that around 350 tonnes of food are wasted on a daily basis in Colombo and its suburbs. We urge residents to not consume unnecessarily and not to waste food.”

Meanwhile, CMC Mayor Rosy Senanayake said the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization had pledged $ 47,000 to establish a knowledge garden in Colombo.

“The FAO has pledged $ 47,000 to set up a knowledge garden in one of our properties to have training for those who want to do home gardening.”

She went on to say that the CMC would be starting several soup kitchens to tend to the urban poor, with the help of the private sector as well as private citizens.

“We are going to start a couple of soup kitchens and we have actually got a lot of support from the private sector. There are many private citizens who are willing to support us. We are in the process of rolling out the soup kitchens. We will look at making a request to some of the larger hotels in Colombo to help us; maybe have some staff man the soup kitchen, the use of any excess food they have, etc. There are people who are doing soup kitchens from their homes right now and they have reached out to us as well. We will be opening a couple of community centres in areas where we feel it will be a huge need.”