During the period they have been able to earn an income of Rs. 950 million.
Divi Neguma made a special contribution to the ornamental fish industry which has increased its contribution to the export market by 30 per cent. Nearly 10,000 beneficiaries are engaged in this industry.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa is directing these programmes with the participation of the Fisheries Ministry under the guidance of Fisheries Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne.
The Aquatic Resources Authority has launched 10 projects island-wide under Divi Neguma. They include rearing ornamental fish, freshwater fish, oysters and production of smoked fresh water dried fish. Inland reservoirs and ponds have been built for the purpose.
Sri Lanka's annual fish harvest is 486,170 metric tons while consumption per person per day is 40 grams. The number of active fishermen is 222,160 and the total number of fishing community is 835,300. The number of fishermen engaged in freshwater fishing is 46,460.
Rearing freshwater fish in the Dry Zone reservoirs has resulted in a harvest of 920 metric tons.
This in turn has greatly helped to raise the nutrition level of the rural population and improve their living standards under Divi Neguma. For this 450 ponds have been built in the Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Matale and Badulla districts.
Allocations have been made for the provision of loans by the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Department under the Divi Neguma Program. Already 1,664 beneficiaries have received loans for the launching technical projects in this connection.