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Land rights to the Wellassa Suger cane Farmers

Written By NAFSO on Monday, August 07, 2017 | 12:17:00 PM


A legal advocacy program was held in wellawaya in Monaragala district on 5th and 6th of Aug. targeting sugar cane farmers of the area.  The program consisted of a one-day education program on legal provisions on land ownership and a legal clinic on the second day. 

Palwatta Suger company was started at the dawn of the 1980s' under the management of Booker Agriculture International Ltd of United Kingdom, (or Booker Tate PLC).  After a world bank funded study in 1978 to identify the suitable area for sugar cane cultivation, land area in  Buththala and wellawaya in Monaragala district in Uva province was identified as suitable for the purpose.    

The selected land area was covered by vast forest area and agricultural lands traditionally or legally owned by local farmers.  Thousands of acres were acquired by the government despite agitations against the land grabbing and forest destruction. 

The farmers have received minor compensation such as 4000 LKR for 5 acres without valuation process and some land plots about 4 and a half acres after signing an agreement (Written in the English language which unfamiliar to the local farmers).  Later they have been educated that the lands are belongs to the company and people cannot grow anything sugar cane.  In the land provided they could build a house but no ownership. 
In 2002 the Government of Sri Lanka sold its stake in the company on the Colombo Stock Exchange. A Sri Lankan company, Master Divers (Private) Limited, purchased 53.5% of the Company for Rs. 300 million. It has the lease ownership of a nucleus estate of approximately 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres), settler area of 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) and a large number of growers in the Uva province. (Wiki)
The issue of land ownership has grown gradually as the agreement of 30 years almost end and pressure is increasing among farmers.  
  
The two-day program was conducted in three places parallelly (Yahalabowa, Block 03and Block 09)  and more than 160 persons attended the 2-day program.  

The program was organized by the Uva Wellassa Women Organization, NAFSO partner in Monaragala district and the program was facilitated by the Institute for Constitutional Studies (ICS - Colombo).   

Education Program at Yahalabowa

Education Program at Yahalabowa

Education Program at Yahalabowa of Suger cane farming area
Education Program at Block 09 of Suger cane farming area

Education Program at Block 09 of Suger cane farming area

Education Program at Block 09 of Suger cane farming area


Education Program at Block 03 

Education Program at Block 03 

Education Program at Block 03 

Education Program at Block 03 

Education Program at Block 03 

Education Program at Block 03


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