mandag 2. mai 2011

A batch of 300 Sri Lankan workers sent to Israel as seasonal agricultural workers returned to the country after successfully completing the agreement!

Lankan agri workers return from Israel:

Learn new trends in agriculture
Disna Mudalige

A batch of 300 Sri Lankan workers sent to Israel as seasonal agricultural workers returned to the country last week after successfully completing the agreement signed between Sri Lanka and Israel. They were sent by the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agency (SLFEA) last October for a period of six months under a pilot project.Israel is world renowned for its use of modern and environmental friendly technology in agriculture.

This team was given a one week training on Hebrew language and Israel agricultural practices before they departed for Israel.

One of the workers W A Buddhika Ravinath (24) appreciated the opportunity they received to be exposed to the widespread application of high tech and cost effective agricultural mechanisms in Israel. He said they learnt that these mechanisms have helped to create high productivity.

He said that the entire Sri Lankan team of labourers were highly satisfied over the remuneration and other facilities they received from Israel, adding that they were treated well during their stay.

“We were paid Rs 450 per hour and over time earning about Rs 100,000 to 250,000 per month. We were able to save from this amount as our expenditure on food and accommodation was very less”, Ravinath said.

He also pointed out that some warned him not to go to Israel due to the prevailing conflict. However, he said that the country’s safety was ensured despite that.

H A Sugath Kumara (31), another woker sent to Israel, said that they received great support from higher officials there and had a very friendly working environment. Compared to his previous experience working in Saudi Arabia, he said he witnessed more positive working conditions in Israel. He also said that the Israel officials were highly satisfied of the Sri Lankan group.

Kumara said that he had the opportunity to work with various nationals and the majority were from Asia. Commenting on the modern technology used for agriculture, he said that various types of vegetables and fruits such as olive, carrot, orange, strawberry, grapes and avocado are cultivated over large landscapes including deserts despite adverse climate conditions.

“They supply water and fertilizer to cultivation through pipelines. The entire system is automated. Pesticides are applied to the cultivated lands from planes. Advanced technology is widely used for these tasks”, he observed.

A Chandana (34) said that over 3,000 Sri Lankans are currently working in Israel mostly as housemaids and part time workers. The returning workers expressed their gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and government as well as the Israel government, SLFEA Chairman Asanka Abeygunasekara and the authorities of the Indian Embassy for selecting them for this programme.