Friday, 9 March 2012

Traditional Rice Farming in Sri Lanka: Still Viable with Climate Change

By P.B. Dharmasena
Former Deputy Director -  Field Crops Research and Development Institute, Mahailluppallama, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has experienced many changes over the last century which has had a significant impact on traditional rice farming in the country. A change in the climate can be seen as the island has faced a reduction of rainfall and an increase in air temperature in certain areas of the country. Furthermore, land used for vegetation has been put to other uses resulting in a loss of 50 per cent of forest cover. The population has also increased by 15 million in a land area of 6.54 million hectares over the last 60 years. Occurrence of natural disasters such as droughts, floods, cyclones, landslides, epidemics, etc., has made life difficult for people to go about with their activities. Traditional sustainable agriculture shifting towards modern technology-intensive mode is partly to be blamed for these natural disasters.