Like in any post war recovery period, there are challenges, constrains and opportunities for livelihood growth exist in the Northern province of Sri Lanka.
Obviously some of the challenges are systemic and will require the support of government, private and non-government development agencies to overcome.
Products that could provide linkages to the mainstream national and international markets and dedicated support systems that enable war affected people to be able to participate in such value chain will be the focus of IRDG in its community restoration and empowerment plan.
Agricultural goods have the most potential for further development in Northern Province. Starting up micro enterprises that is involved in branding, packaging and marketing value adding services will enhance the opportunities for cultivation of identified crops. IRDG identifies this as the key to unlocking the province's potential.
Such expansion of cultivation would in turn increase employment opportunities throughout the value chain stages from supply, value addition activities of micro businesses and SMEs to the point of marketing. Increase in scale and the engagement of private sector will attract technological advancement.
Human capacity required to meet the quality standards to be able to linkup with the national and international value chain is currently lacking in the war affected regions. However, introduction of packaging technology and supply chain infrastructure will reduce dependencies on human capacity to achieve product quality and meet processing standards.
The war affected communities can target to link up with international markets by creating an appropriate brand image to signify that the value addition services were performed by the war affected communities. Once a program is announced and help and support are widely solicited for technical, marketing and financial support to link up with international market, it is reasonable to expect significant support for such initiatives.
Livestock and dairy has immense potential in Vanni areas because of availability land, traditional skills, willingness and the market opportunities for milk based products. Productivity of the sector must be increased by the introduction of high yielding cross breeds. National demand for the dairy sector is well short of its availability and donors have encouraged enhancement and increased productivity and offer assistance and support
The inconsistent, counter productive and often defeating archaic bureaucratic policies, procedural requirements and outdated mode of operations are significant impediments. Lack of financial products and inaccessibility of such products by farmers and entrepreneurial youths of the province has been observed as a key constraint by the IRDG.
These can be overcome by engagement of well informed business development support service providing institutions such as IRDG will mitigate such impediments. IRDG will need to develop ability to collaborate at the national and provincial bureaucracy and political authorities to deal with issues at the ground level. Such business development support service providers would become active enablers of rural productivity and job creation.