I must say at the outset that I did not go on this field trip but 25 from the Gamidiriya society of our village did go along with a similar number from the equivalent society in Minneriya, who were all female also went in a hired bus. The total cost of the journey was borne by a state body that had allocated funds for the education of farmers from all parts of the Island. I gleaned information from a friendly farmer who talked about it afterwards.
Whilst the intention is honorable the whole organization is self-defeating. I was told that there were people from all parts of the country in attendance and the program on offer was extensive. Apparently topics covered include, raising goats, chicken, dairy cattle, mushroom farming, beekeeping, along with the regular fruit and vegetable farming. This is of no use to farmers who are going to improve their knowledge about a specific interest that they may have, rather than be confused into pursuing something that at that moment sounds very interesting.
I therefore feel, advance notice should have been given of all the programs available, with each participant permitted to chose from a series of alternatives in advance. Then upon arrival at the location, they can then be sent to their area of interest to study the program in depth, and obtain the necessary literature in that field of interest. General knowledge in the whole sphere of agriculture and animal husbandry is not the intention of this plan.
I learnt that true to form, the government shops were closed at 3pm, so that none of the people were able to purchase seeds or any other items on offer, as their program finished long after. It is most absurd when they know that there are so many people from all parts of the island present to close the shop at that hour just to keep to the timetable of the government service and not satisfy the critical service to the people they are paid to serve.
Farmers including myself are inundated with different possibilities we can pursue some of which are totally unsuited to the prevailing conditions in our area. We have an incredibly heavy bureaucracy assigned to assist the farmer increase their output and become more efficient and cost effective. No wonder none of the intentions are carried out because of the lack of planning in presenting all available possibilities to the audience. Some simple logical and thoughtful modifications must be made to produce better results. Lets stop the wastage of public funds and hold the officers responsible for results.