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.
Ekabadda Praja Sanwardana kantha maha sangamaya-Weligepola,Balangoda