August 26, 2019
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    Pumpkin Festival’ held on February 22 (Friday) along Green Path Featured

    February 17, 2019

    The humble pumpkin is in the news today due to the bumper crop which has resulted in farmers struggling to get reasonable prices for their produce.In the Districts of Ampara, Anuradhapura and Moneragala where pumpkins grow in abundance during this time of the year, farmers have been so hard hit by falling prices that some of them are opting to give away their produce free, rather than let them rot and go to waste.

    It is the story of such farmers that has inspired a group of forward-thinking persons, led by the Chairman, Coexist Foundation, Channa de Silva, to come up with a novel concept that would put pumpkin farmers centre stage and awaken people to the true benefits of the humblepumpkin.This will be by way of the ‘Pumpkin Farmers Festival’ which will be held on February 22 (Friday) along Green Path (Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha) from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00p.m.

    “During the past few weeks, while I was traveling in Anuradhapura and other areas, the sad plight of the pumpkin farmers was evident. There were piles of pumpkins dumped along the road with the farmers willing to give them away free just so that they would not go waste,” De Silva, who is also the Chairman of Sarvodya Development Finance Limited said.

    He had then mooted the idea of the ‘pumpkin farmers festival’ (together with several others including the Chief Executive Officer of Sarvodya Development Finance Limited Nilantha Jayanetti).

    “As someone who grew up in Ampara, an area where farmers depend on the sale of pumpkin at this time of the year to make a living, I can personally relate to their plight as my father too was a farmer. This festival is a way, to not only draw attention to the farmers but also enlighten the people on the many benefits of eating pumpkin,” he said. Twenty-five farmers from three districts will participate in the festival bringing with them between 50,000 kilos to 100,000 kilos of pumpkin. Farmers from the Northern Province are also expected to attend the festival.

    The morning session will specially focus on schoolchildren, to educate them on the value of pumpkins as well encourage them to buy a pumpkin and contribute towards the welfare of the farmers.

    “This is a home-grown vegetable which can be prepared in a number of ways.

    Pumpkin is grown without the use of any chemical fertiliser and is wholesome and nutritious. At the Festival, people will get to talk to the farmers as well as various experts on the benefits of consuming pumpkin,” he said.

    The Festival organisers have got on board leading hoteliers as well as well-known Chef Publllis, and Ayurveda physicians who will enlighten people on the many benefits of consuming pumpkin while there will also be fun activities such as pumpkin carvings. Among the special guests will be Vannile Attho, the Chief of the Dambana Veddha community.


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