The Agrotech Farm at Dehiattakandiya, popularly known as the “Kadjuwatta”, situated within the Mahaweli System ‘C’ area, 52 miles north of Mahiyangana, is the first agricultural project undertaken by the company. This robust 1000-acre farm out of approximately 3000 acres of land consists of forest and rough terrain and is almost rectangular in shape. It has the Maduru Oya Wildlife sanctuary and Rathkinda Canal on its Southern and Western boundaries, and the rocky ‘Kuda Sigiriya’ mountain range in the Northern region. The flora and fauna of the farm is quenched by the continuous supply of water from three ancient tanks situated within the land. This is in supplement to the canal, which flows along the land that brings in the Mahaweli waters to the farming community living in the periphery. The Farm is located within the low country dry zone. The annual rainfall at 75% expectancy is 777 mm. It has been observed that it rains less than 25% of the days of the year. The rainfall is bi-modal, but the peak is observed during Maha North East monsoon (Oct – Feb). The remaining period is the dry spell with very slight rain. In April, the steadiness of the rainfall pattern is important for land preparation, selection of semi-perennial crops, forestation and utilization of irrigation systems and planning of weed control.
The mean annual temperature varies between 29 – 37 oC. The vast difference between the high daytime temperature and the low night time temperature and the reddish brown soil rich in Potassium brings the best in taste and flavour of many varieties of high quality tropical fruits, grown within the farm.
Cashew, being the main crop is planted on 380 acres and is already paying dividends. Over 250 acres of high yielding, dry-zone varieties of coconuts are almost mature and would be in production within the next year. The forestry project with an extent of 250 acres of Teak, Mahogany, Jak and Halmilla, which would bring in long-term revenue from timber, is almost ten years and is growing to the expectations of the management.
The Plant nursery, which is about 50 acres in size, nurtures and nourishes timber and fruit plants of a very high quality. Its continuous supply of planting material not only fulfils the requirements of the farm, but also provides seedlings to farmers in the area and holds the very best of the mother-plants. A superior variety of Mahogany from Senegal and Cavendish Banana from Israel are a few of the many superior plants imported and propagated in this nursery.
The Cattle farm, which started out as a charitable venture, is becoming a profitable enterprise. The large number of cattle, which amount to around 300, supply ample amounts of dung and urea-based sludge for the organic fertiliser project whilst producing milk. The herd also helps in controlling weeds within the farm to some extent. Scientific animal husbandry with artificial insemination of cows is also underway to enhance the quality and quantity of produce and the cattle stock. Agrotech has also purchased Moora buffaloes, which are 90% pure breed from India. The objective of introducing Moora buffaloes is to link them up with the dairy project to produce curd and other milk based products.
The Agricultural Research Facility at Gannoruwa, and the University of Peradeniya have been the pioneers in guiding the farm staff in succeeding in all projects carried out so far.