Protect and Promote Traditional Food Crops To Increasing Agricultural Bio Diversity

Modern food supply chain is highly dependent on improved commercial varieties and genetically modified varieties. Unfortunately most of these types are under risk of having health hazards for humans and also increase cost of production or need high levels of inputs. In fact we think the improved crops are high yielding; it’s not true, because, most of the improved varieties can be considered as high responsive crops. That means the output produced are highly dependent on the input supply. In other words, the short varieties do not have enough capacity to produce high yield, but it can convert the fertilizer we applied in to the harvest. (E.g. Three month rice variety has to provide basal dressing and 3 top dressing applications of N, P, and K). This conversion will not be able to produce healthy, strong and nutritive product, but it just produces a big volume.

The main objective of the project is to protect and promote traditional food crops to increasing bio diversity. To realize that  Weligepola Kantha Maha Sangamaya move towards the method of in-situ conservation of traditional varieties and follows strategies to promote economic opportunities, empowering the poor, and enhancing social security to alleviate poverty and also to provide better health and nutrition particularly for low-income households in weligepola DS division.

There are 100 farmers engaged with the project and nearly 100 acres of land area was used to cultivate traditional food crops. Community participation is about 75% which includes land, labour, capital, management and their motivation. Financial supports, technological involvement and coordination of community groups done by organization. The low-country (plains) vegetables, which include Brinjal, Bitter Gourd, Pumpkin, Luffa, Cucumber and Snake Gourd And Cereals, such as Maize, Green Grams, Black Grams, Cowpea, Millet and Peanuts, and Chilies which are cultivated less intensively under low input systems. There are several traditions of seed conservation practices within the community including use of different types of shells for storing, exposure to smoke, stored with Neem leaves and store as pods or dried fruits according to the type of seed. Seed exchange among communities and commercial level seed marketing are main promotional and protection strategies for traditional seeds.

Constructed 20 rainwater harvesting tanks, three open rainwater harvesting ponds called “Pathaha” and nine deep aquifers to reduce water scarcity in drought season. In rainy season, heavy soil erosion exists due to heavy rains and due to wind in drought. So, soil fertility degradation is very high in the area. So, farmers were trained to practice soil conservation measures such as live fences, use of coconut husks, mulching, constructing bund and terraces and using cover crops. Production of compost and other types of organic fertilizers like wormi-compost and liquid compost help to increase the soil fertility and crop production. It also reduces the cost of inputs and provide health benefits directly.

To achieve the main objectives of the project, strategies are setup with several co-activities, because there was a need to change attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles of farmers to cultivate traditional varieties of food crops instead of growing improved varieties. Establishment of community driven small groups and introducing revolving funds mechanisms to them lead to uplift the living status. Seed exchange mechanism setup to get back double the quantity at the end of the consecutive season. Community level seed exchange programmes and practicing of crop rotating, entrust the in-situ conservation in much more meaningful manner. The kitchen management programme along with this project provide extra advantage to change their behaviors and to reduce their food and firewood expenses. Rain water harvesting using tanks and ponds enable the cultivation even in drought season. Such infrastructure developments sustains the cultivation practices for long time.

Badrakanthi, M.R.
Ekabadda Praja Sanwardana kantha maha sangamaya-Weligepola,Balangoda

HELP-O Biogas Program Livelihood development using NTFP (Non timber forest Products) in sustainable manner

Masmulla forest area of 863 hectares, situated in Matara District, Southern Province of Sri Lanka is faced to few threats. These threats were correctly noticed by WTSS and searched for a solution with the help of FD. Traditional basket weaving industry (Kulu watti Products) is spread in surrounding villages adjoined to Masmulla forest for about 400 years. About 500 families are involving in this industry. The raw materials (bata, ochlanda stridual and Inipetta, Yathociyx Zeylanica) are harvested from the forest. Due to over exploitation of these raw materials their only source of income generation have come to a stand still. Therefore it came apparent they tended to look for illegal timber felling and clearing the forest for Chena cultivation as a way of living.

WTSS a pioneer environmental organization in Sri Lanka understood this situation and took keen interest in solving this problem with the help of forest officers. Organized villages adjoined to the forest and introduced the basket craftsmen a legal permit system issued by FD and supplied enough raw materials (bata) easily from close by forests where there are plenty of raw materials. Trained the villagers to get the harvest in sustainable manner. Improved their livelihood introducing modern varieties through skill development and encouraged for good marketing opportunities locally and abroad. Gradually they were compelled to stop illegal timber fellings and other offences.

Communities from 04 adjoined villages to Masmulla forest have fallen to alternative livelihood means abstaining from timber fellings. Encroachment into the forest have been stopped. Community groups have formed an information and activity service where some illegal action harmful to forest is happening immediately given the massage to the chairperson who will then inform BFO/ RFO have been minimized due to this  way of activities. Replanting in buffer zone and inside the forest also has taken place. Parallaly home gardening was improved.

Bata craftsmens’ local society have developed a monitoring fund out of their income and use this money for buying new raw materials. All the work done by the project is willingly undertaken by community in future.

Community Based Ecosystem Conservation Approach (CBECA) – A new concept used for Sea Turtle Conservation in Sri Lanka

Five out of seven species of endangered sea turtles nest in Sri Lanka including Critically endangered Leatherback turtles and Hawksbill turtles. Destruction of the coastal ecosystems by coastal communities is a substantial problem in Sri Lanka.  Coastal communities have to depend on their surrounding natural resources for survival.  As a result, very important coastal habitats and coastal fauna such as the coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves, marine turtles and other coastal vegetation are under serious threat of extinction.

The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) established in 1993 with the aim of protecting marine turtle conservation realized the chain connection between the coastal communities and coastal resources, which heavily depend on each other.  As a solution, TCP has developed an innovative concept which is referred as the ‘Community Based Ecosystem Conservation Approach’ (CBECA) to address the problems described.

Community of Rekawa (a small fishing village located in southern Sri Lanka), was heavily exploiting marine and coastal resources due to poverty and lack of awareness. TCP has implemented an innovative concept which is referred as the ‘Community Based Ecosystem Conservation Approach’ (CBECA) in the conservation of marine and coastal resources and poverty alleviation, a multi-pronged approach with seven main components: 1). community livelihood development, 2). community infrastructure development, 3). environmental restoration and management, 4). community awareness/capacity development, 5). partnership building/networking, 6). knowledge management & sharing (Current & traditional knowledge), 7). utilization of local culture.

TCP has improved the socioeconomic conditions and well being of the community through ‘Community Based Ecosystem Conservation Approach’ (CBECA). There, TCP implemented various community based projects at the same time, through different CBOs.

TCP has formed CBOs such as community Batik group, Fish breeding group, sewing, coir mat, bee keeping, agro farming etc and provided alternative livelihood development skills training for these CBO members.  TCP also provided the equipment and initial stocks of material/raw material.  Further, initial capital needs were met through the revolving fund scheme.  TCP has implemented infrastructure development programs such as renovation of rural roads in order to facilitate local tourism and other businesses.

In addition, TCP has established a public library, public bus halting places and drinking water facilities.  Further, TCP has also implemented community skills development programs such as primary school programs, computer classes, free English language classes, swimming training and disaster preparedness training.  Children’s clubs were established in order to involve children in the coastal eco-system conservation and management process, providing them with necessary awareness through various educational programs. TCP has also implemented community health programs such as, medical clinics, free herbal drinks for school children, community welfare services and first aid training.

The TCP developed multiple partnerships in order to make the project a success.  TCP facilitated networking of CBOs into an umbrella organization/consortium of CBOs.  Later this was linked to relevant government institutions, local business organizations, and international organizations such as the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), UN Volunteer Program, SCOTIA- USAID, UNDP GEF SGP, MercyCorps, etc. for necessary training, business links, marketing opportunities etc.  Eg. SCOTIA-USAID helped the community Batik Group, by financing a production facility in Rekawa. Mercy Corps helped both the Batik and Coir Groups by financing for kiosks at 10 large hotels in Tangalle, to display and sell community products.  The Wildlife Conservation Department has been invited and involved in the project to enforce the law and also to declare the Rakawa beach as Sri Lanka’s first Marine Turtle Sanctuary.

Kapurusinghe, T., Ekanayake, L., Rathnakumara, S. and Saman, M.M.
Turtle Conservation Project (TCP), Sri Lanka

HELP-O Biogas Program

HELP-O has started to construct biogas plant in 2004 in Karapitiya Teaching Hospital in Galle which is one of major hospitals in Sri Lanka. On that time that hospital faced critical issue that is solid waste problem but the organization had a vision that is to build a biogas plant inside the hospital. When this process implement we had to face many challenges first change the attitudes. This biogas plant works since 2004 with out any problem.  Through this program the hospital could able to earn Rs.60, 000 per month and they decreased many diseases from this biogas people dump waste in proper way.

After this the organization could able to expand this process in to village wide the second step started in 2007. This program implemented through the people’s company which is formed after the Tsunami disaster the total membership is more than 10,000. First we provide a community biogas plant for village and from it 6 people can get biogas for cook and they have to pay Rs.500 per every month this money will use to expand this project. There are 3 community bio gas unit in walauwaththa area. And 2 bio gas units in Samagiwaththa 2 bio gas units in Thalapitiya, one bio gas unit in Eththiligoda. In addition to that HELP-O has constructed a bio gas unit in Mahamodara hospital.

Environment impact is huge of this project. And it is sustainable solution of waste problem the GMC didn’t have a good dumping system from this kind of activities we could able to decrease it. There are many long term impacts

•    Decrease the Organic / Non organic  waste
•    Make a good waste dumping system implement inside of village
•    Increase the Home gardens in villages
•    Decrease the Flooding problems which happen from Wastes
•    Decrease the diseases happened from wastes
•    Provide Biog Gas for houses with low cost and decrease the usage of LP gas
•    Decrease the use age of Chemical Manure to Cultivation
•    Make a Revolving fund inside of the People’s Company for Environment Fund which comes from the amount that gas use beneficiaries.

On the other hand this biogas plants helps to decrease the Global warming because the methane gas increase the Global warming and now community will not dump waste in near the road and they use this biogas. The non organic wastes are colleting by community and they sell it to recycling and that is help for decrease the POP gas

To generate power of bio gas, source is the organic waste which collects from the houses and trading shops around the Galle city. We have built some saving groups relating to our peoples company in this area. Families who hope to get bio gas for their houses , should pay 500 rupees per month for using bio gas. They should pay this amount to peoples company branch. These amounts are debited to the fund named bio gas fund in this people’s company branch. The members of the peoples company hope to use this fund to build more bio gas units in the area.

To generate power it should be put waste in to bio gas pit daily. We hope to generate new employment opportunity relating to this matter. By recruiting one or two person to collect waste from various institutions like hotels, they can be paid some amount   of money from peoples company branch. And some hotels agreed to pay some amount to the waste collectors for removing their waste.

Our organization has introduced a cart to collect the waste the waste collect by the community and they dump it to biogas plant.

Following Oranizations  gives their assistance to continue the bio gas project.
UNDP – Financial assistance
Central Environment Authority – assistence
Galle Municiple Council – government assistence
HELP-O – Implementing and Technical assistence

P.M.A. Thennakoon
HELP – O Galle, Sri Lanka

Survey of new trends and changes of polythene products after implementation the new thin polythene regulation No 1466/5, 2006.10.10

Uncontrolled and needless use of polythene is still creating adverse environmental impacts. The Ministry of Environment of Sri Lanka and the Central Environmental Authority took the initiative with wide stakeholder participation to introduce regulatory measures to minimize negative impacts on the environment and human health due to thin polythene. Through Gazette numbered 1466/5 and dated 10 October 2006, manufacture of polythene product of 20 µm or below in thickness is prohibited from 1 January 2006. This has been done by virtue of the powers vested to the honorable Minister of Environment as per the National Environment Act no 47 of 1980.

The Waste Management Unit of the Central Environmental Authority has conducted a survey to investigate the effectiveness of the Regulation in order to propose necessary amendment to the existing Regulation. Data collection was done according to a questionnaire through Divisional Environmental Officers of the Central Environmental Authority. Data was collected from all the districts except those in the Northern Province.

According to the data obtained from Sri Lanka Customs the quantity of plastic and polythene imported has increased by 3 % from 2005 to 2006. It has only increased by 1% from 2006 to 2007.  This speaks in favor of the Regulation. However, the survey results have indicated that the usage of raw materials have increased after the Regulation. The population increases and increased consumption and related production could be one reason. Another reason may be due to increased thickness of polythene products requiring more raw materials. Whole sales of polythene products have decreased considerably in the country after implementation of the Regulation.

According to the survey burning of Polythene is the most popular solid waste management method in our country. The second is polythene disposal with other types of waste. Monaragala, Badulla, Polonnaruwa, Hambanthota & Trincomalee are poor in recycling while Kandy, Gampaha, Matara & Galle are considerably good in recycling than other districts. Based on statistical analysis of survey results it can be said that the new Regulation is effective. There is a clear change in usage of polythene after the Regulation. Public awareness of this Regulation should be increased as well as kept continuously to get a more effective out-put from the Regulation. Polythene usage and Sales have increased in the western province which is inevitable since the population of this province increases rapidly here in comparison to other provinces and migrant population is also high in this province. In addition to this the deficiency of alternatives for lunch sheets in Colombo may also be a reason for the non-reduction in the use of polythene. But polythene consumption and sales have comparatively reduced in other districts after new Regulation. Hence, this Regulation has achieved its objective to a considerable extent.
Acceptable recommendations for this current issue can be listed as follows. The number of recycling centers should be increased to promote recycling in addition to changing peoples attitudes towards the 3R concepts. Good coordination among government bodies is essential for the success of these regulation. Alternative products should also be promoted in Sri Lanka. Government intervention is essential to promote alternative producers and sellers and Public awareness of this Regulation should be increased as well as kept continuously to get an effective out put from the Regulation

Bandara N.J.A.J 1, Lakmali W.A.S 1, Dissanayaka W.A.S.S 1
Jayasekara S 2, P.M.D Jayaneth 2
University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka1,CentralEnvironmental Authority, Sri Lanka2.

Evaluation of Socio-Economic status among estate workers in plantation sector

Tea, Rubber and coconut are the main commercial crops in Sri Lanka. Other than state owned plantations; regional plantation companies (RPCs), small holders and home gardens significantly contribute for the total production of them.

Through contributing significantly to the national economy, the socio-economic status of estate workers is not satisfactory. The objective of this study is to evaluate the socio-economic status among them. For this purpose data collection was done in 52 estates; both from up country and low country. These 52 estates belonged to Four Regional Plantation Companies. A pre-tested questionnaire was distributed randomly among workers in each estate.

417 respondents were interviewed in this survey. The respondents were selected to cover all social classes in an estate. General information like age, number of residents in household and social information like type of house, education level, sanitary facilities, water availability and infrastructure facilities were obtained. As economic information employment of the respondents were obtained.

According to the obtained results most of the families have 4-8 family members. 87 % percent of the total respondents live in the estate itself and the other 13 % are villagers and outsiders who are engaged in an occupation in the estate. These 13 % mainly consist of estate doctors, mid-wives, managers, SDs, field officers and clerks. 86% of the estate dwellers live in line rooms and the remaining 14 % were in twin-cottages, housing schemes or quarters. Among the estate dwellers less than 5 % had an education up to G.C.E. (O/L). Almost all respondents have sanitary facilities most of which are common and a source of water. However, water is not available to individual housing units and it is revealed that in some estates it is hard to find water in dry periods.

According to the survey access to schools, hospitals and towns is the most critical issue faced by the estate workers; due to long distance to travel and poor condition of roads. Some residents have have to walk 24 kms to reach a bus. The hiring of a three-wheeler cost from 60.00 to 1,200.00 Rs to travel to the nearest town. It was observed that the three-wheeler hire is a good indicator of the road condition and the distance to travel.

However, it was observed that drug addiction, ignorance due to lack of proper education, poverty and wastage are the acute social issues of the estate workers. On the other hand estate unions, drug addiction, poverty and lack of labourers are the main obstacles faced by the estate management.

Key Words: socio-economic, estate sector, estate workers, plantation sector
Jayarathne, K.M.T.S, Amarasena, P.R.S.K, Bandara, N.J.G.J.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardanepura

Economics of intercropping of coconut smallholders: A study of Gampaha District

Coconut is the largest plantation crop covering 395,000 ha of land area and contributes to considerable amount of export earning in the country. Although intercropping under coconut is being practiced for long time, proper investigations into economic issues has been rather limited. The present study was therefore conducted to study the intercropping patterns of the coconut small holders in Gampaha district which has the largest extent of coconut land. Main objectives are to identify the intercropping system that gives the highest revenue and to identify contribution of different management practices towards the income of the coconut lands.

Sixty one coconut land owners with land holding size of 1-4 ha were selected for the study from all 13 Divisional Secretariat (DS) areas of the district. The respondent numbers were proportionate to the number of coconut growers in each DS area. The small holders were interviewed during December 2007 to September 2008. Detailed information on the land including intercropping extents, crops, revenues, land types and soil conservation measures adopted were collected.

Results indicate that 50 percent of the smallholders do not practice intercropping and pepper and pineapple as the most profitable intercropping system. A multiple regression analysis carried out to understand how the different management practices of the intercropped lands contribute to the total income indicates the positive contribution of soil conservation measures and number of intercrops and the importance of land type. The policy implications of the results especially towards replicating the best management practices and the best combination of intercrops in coconut small holders are highlighted.

Perera, M.D.S. and Gunawardena, U.A.D.P.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura Sri Lanka

Estimation of Physical Accounts for Forest Resources of Sri Lanka: Study of Anuradhapura and Nuwara Eliya Districts

Natural resource accounting has been accepted as an essential pre-requisite for sustainable economic development. Changes in resource stocks provide an indication of the status of resource which provides guidelines for appropriate inter-temporal resource allocation for sustainable development. The System of national Accounts (SNA) is the widely practiced national accounting system but it provides only inadequate treatment in resource accounting especially additions and depletion. The physical accounts shows the opening stocks and flow of resources (additions, depletion etc.) while these estimations can be valued (monetized) and used for integration.

Forest resources in Sri Lanka are well distributed in all agro-climatic regions. The present SNA system of Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) concentrates only the stumpage and fuel wood for the valuation of forest. The annual reforested extent, forest, farm wood lots etc. are not taken in the estimation procedure. Also, forest fires, loss of lands due to illegal felling, encroachment or development activities are not deducted.

This paper presents the concepts and principles used in preparing physical resources for forest sector by including all the relevant components and present the results of physical accounts of forest resources in Anuradhapura and Nuwara Eliya districts for year 2005.  Anuradahpaura mainly consists of dry monsoon forests and some extent of forest lands is allocated for fuel wood extraction. Nuwara Eliya contains montane forest, and lowland rain forests. To estimate the entire GDP of the country values considered by the DCS for timber in the Anuradhapura and Nuwara Eliya districts are 52 and 111 hectares respectively. Timber production from these extents and estimate of a household survey for fuel wood has been used to calculate the GDP value of forest resources of the present study. According to this study the closing stock of forest resource inventory for the year 2005 in Anuradhapura district is 264630 ha while for Nuwara Eliya district it is 49448 ha. These numbers are significantly higher than the DCS estimations and need to be used to calculate the monetary values and for integration in estimation of adjusted GDP.

However, the estimated value does not incorporate value of other products such as non-timber products, carbon sequestration etc. To capture the value of all such products an accurate inventory of forest resource is a pre-requisite.

C.M.M.Chandrasekara1 and U A D P Gunawardena2

1Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka
2Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura Sri Lanka

Economic Valuation of flood control benefit of Heen Ela Sub Catchment of Colombo City

Flood control is a functional benefit that wetland performs. When wetlands are filled, water retention capacity is reduced leading to floods with short storm events. This paper discusses the non market value of wetland in the Heen Ela sub catchment of Colombo. Heen Ela Marsh South is one of the 14 sub-catchment of the Colombo catchment and it is being threatened by various anthropogenic activities.
For this study 1: 50000 agricultural based map of 1990 and ICONOS map of 2005 were used to estimate how much wetlands are available in each year in their natural state. Geographical Information System was used to digitize these maps. A Contingent Valuation survey was carried out to estimate the economic value of the water retention function wetlands. Randomly selected 80 respondents were selected from three GN divisions, i.e., Nawala West, Kirula and Narahenpita which are located around the wetland. Respondents were asked of their willingness to pay for the flood protection benefits based on two scenarios proposed for the Heen Ela Marsh. The survey was carried out between November 2007 and January 2008

According to the map analysis, in 1990, 67.67 ha of marshy lands appeared in their natural state and it has been reduced to 34.8 ha in 2005 which represents 48.6% reduction which has lead to a significant reduction of the flood retention within the sub catchment.

The mean WTP value per household per year was Rs 1212.80. The economic value of the water retention function of the wetland of the sub catchment is Rs 7.7 million (US$ 0.07 million) per ha per year. Multiple regression analysis was carried out to identify the socio economic characteristics of the users that affect the WTP value. The results were consistent with the standard economic theory. The usefulness of the results for the decisions regarding controlled and uncontrolled land filling and justifications for preventive actions are discussed as well.

M B F Mafahia1, U A D P Gunawardena2, M M M Nagim3

1Department of Zoology, University of Colombo,
2Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, 3Department of Zoology, University of Kelaniya

A quantitative study to propose effective guidelines for household composting

Solid waste is a major environmental problem in Sri Lanka. The main disposal sites are marsh lands, low lands, river banks & other wet lands. More than 80% of the waste generated in Sri Lanka consist of organic materials. When compared to other developing countries there is a great possibility in composting the waste and getting a better solution to the waste problem in Sri Lanka. Therefore considerable attention is being now paid by the local authorities on household level composting programs to reduce the amount of municipal solid waste disposed from households.

The aims of the present study are to identify the problems associated with household composting programs and to give necessary guidelines to implement a successful composting program. In order to collect the data for the given aims, field observations were  made in three areas namely Katugoda and Magalle in Galle district and Bandiyamulla-East in Gampaha district where composting programs are implemented. A sample of ten percent of the total households was randomly selected to take the necessary observations. (Type of waste, Moisture level,Grade of compost etc.).

As an improper balance between ground waste and food waste inside the bin is observed in majority of households, a quantitative study of making compost was done using kitchen waste, ground waste and saw dust. An appropriate ratio was developed using the literature available and the particular ratio in field. Necessary measurements were taken from the compost made, after testing for eight weeks. (i.e pH value, moisture content, organic carbon content, Nitrogen content and Carbon to Nitrogen ratio)

A proper fixed ratio cannot be assign for food waste and ground waste as the compost making process is an art through experience rather than a scientific fixed method. The proposed ratio gives a proper balance for kitchen waste, ground waste and saw dust as the combination produce compost complying with the Sri Lankan standards in tested parameters. Quantities around the proposed ratio are favorable for a fairly better product

Anthony C.S.C., Bandara N.J.G.J.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura