Agriculture, a contributor to socio-economic well-being

Agriculture, a contributor to socio-economic well-being

Posted 21 July 2011, by Ridma Dissanayake, Daily News (The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd),

Agriculture has long been of high importance to Sri Lanka’s economy and society. It contributes 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and has 34 percent of country’s employment according to the 2006 report of the Centre of Environmental Justice (CEJ). It is the most important source of employment for majority of Sri Lanka’s workforce. Approximately 38 percent of the total labour force is engaged in agriculture according to 1999 statistics.

Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) held a lecture series for journalists recently to make them aware of agriculture and to create an attitudinal change in the society about agriculture. It was held in Nuwara-Eliya from June 15 to 17 with the participation of lecturers such as Prof. Sunanda Mahendra, Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa and environmentalist Thilak Kandegama.

Modern methods and techniques

Environmental agriculture had special focus in this programme and environmentalist Thilak Kandegama conducted several lectures on the subject.

Experts say modern methods and techniques which are used in the agriculture field are harmful to health and environment. According to farmers they have reverted to traditional methods in farming to reduce risks. Local health experts say producing food by using traditional methods are nutritious and not harmful to the environment.

Kandegama said the sun and the moon affect agriculture activities and the sunrays that fall on to the earth tend to vary the life circle of plants. When supplying water for the growth of plants, the moon is very important. The moon, sun and other ancient practices lead to a good harvest, experts said.

Traditional methods are eco-friendly. Such eco-friendly farming methods and techniques help preserve the environment and consumers’ health. Using modern methods and techniques cause various illnesses such as cancer, skin infections and kidney problems, experts point out.

With the goal of introducing an environmentally friendly farming system to Sri Lanka, a 12 acre farm commenced in Nawalapitiya in 2009 and it is now popular as Kandegedara ecological farm.

Training programmes

According to Kandegama, the ancient Chena cultivation method is the most suitable and simple traditional farming method in Sri Lanka. Before using any other cultivation method, farmers should pay attention to the geographical location of Sri Lanka as it is a country which is the most biodiverse than other countries in the world, he said.

When following the Chena cultivation method, first the location for plantation need to be assessed. After that the land is cleared and burned. Then Kurahan seeds are planted and when they grow six inches, crops seeds are planted. When they grow nine inches other plants such as vegetables, fruits and flowers are planted in the nutrient-rich soil.

Then it will become a successful Chena or Nava Dalu Chena. Thus the environment provides elements to control insect without any chemicals.

We have visited vegetable farms in Nuwara-Eliya and we have held discussions with farmers there as part of a training programme, he said. It helps all journalists to have a good knowledge about the agriculture field in Sri Lanka.

HARTI Director Lalith Kantha Jayasekara, Deputy Director Dr. L. P. Rupasinghe, Human Resources and Institutional Development Unit’s Head Dr. M. S. Senanayake, Agriculture Policies and Project Evaluation Unit’s Head J. K. M. D. Chandrasiri, News and Publication Unit’s Head Pujitha De Mel and Information and Publication Officers C. U. Senanayake and Wathsala Gamage also participated in this programme.

(Ed Note: Please visit the original site to view the photographs associated with this article)


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by pathum milinda on September 16, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I’m under graduate of agriculture faculty, university of peradeniya & interest in bio dynamic agriculture,thanks for providing these kind of article


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