Climate Variability and Food Security
Research on best adaptative practices for Agriculture
Salinity in paddy cultivation:
The UNDP (Disaster Risk Management) together with Disaster Management
Centre of Sri Lanka attached to the Ministry of Disaster Management and
Human Rights has taken an important initiative in developing a model
mitigation site with special focus on adapting to climate change in the
Among the objectives of the project are adapting to climatic change
and empowerment of the community and also the introduction of farmer
community adaptable methodologies for climate change. This comes at a
time when food security becomes a global issue against the backdrop of
A pilot project has been launched in Puttalam where the degree of
agricultural salinity is high. Prognoses have been made that prolong
draughts and sea level rise would occur by 2010 with the rise of global
warming. By products of this process will be the dramatic rise of the
sea level and increase in temperature which would result in increase in
The outcome of this process would the increasing level of salinity in
the coastal belt and interior of the country. The aim of the project is
to look into the best agricultural practices that would offer a high
degree of adaptability to climatic change.
For the pilot project, traditional varieties of rice such as “Dahanala”,
“ Pachchaperumal” and developed varieties of rice from the Battalagoda
Rice Research and Development Institute have been tried out and
succeeded with the farmers.
Programme Planing and Development Officer of UNDP’s Disaster
Programme, Janaka Gamage
The first phase of the two year project is aimed at testing best
adaptability practices for climate change. For instance, traditional
agricultural practices such as wash off, “Basnawal” (draining system)
and organic practices have also been tested out.
It has been found out that those traditional varieties such as “Dahanala”,
“ Pachchaperumal” are salinity resistant and that the traditional
practices such as “Basnawal” ( draining systems) have been proved
Research was focused on two locations in Puttlum District, Nelumwewa
and Kattakaduwa. This research was implemented along with the Department
of Agriculture, Rice Research Development Institute (RRDI), Batalagoda
and Disaster Management Centre, Puttalam.In the research, traditional
varieties of rice are being promoted in a bid to address several burning
issues including impending food crises.
With the climatic change and overuse of chemical fertilizer and
pesticides and weedicides, salinity has increased in more and more paddy
fields making them un-cultivable.
This is particularly adversely-affecting small-scale fields and it
has been found out through experience that the best methods to
desalinate these fields are to go back to organic farming with
traditional varieties of rice. Though a base of sixty traditional
varieties has been used, four out of them were selected on the basis of
availability of markets for them.
Pachchaperumal, Kaluheenati, Dahanala, Rathdal were introduced along
with organic and non-organic agronomic practices in selected farmers
Organic farming practices like use of organic manure (cowdung,
Poultry manure etc.), organic liquid fertilizer, pesticides, burned
paddy husk etc. Were successfully used in the farmer field during the
The next step would be to introduce these tried and tested best
farmer practices as a package to farmer communities to fight against
salinity if and where salinity condition is developed in certain areas.
Important outcome of the project is re-cultivation of Kattakaduwa field
which had been left un-cultivated for years. Perhaps this would offer a
ray of hope for Sri Lanka in its long march toward food security.Even
people in colonies like Nelumwewa learnt to adopt it climate changes
through best farmer practices.