Home Garden Diversification in Gampola, Giribawa Pilot Site

Sri Lanka is a country with a rich biodiversity providing habitat for various endemic and diversified plant species. Diversified agro ecological regions with rich soil prevailing within the country have provided a unique agro biodiversity with different agricultural systems. Cascade ecosystem is one such unique agriculture system within the country for years and recently it has been identified as one of the world heritage due to its relevance towards agricultural biodiversity. Gampola, Giribawa pilot site belonging to cascade ecosystem where many of the livelihoods depend on the tank based agriculture system which supports there day today agricultural practices.

Located in dry zone, Gampola pilot site was affected by a severe drought prevailed continuously for few years affecting their livelihoods. Under these circumstances to secure food and nutritional security among the villagers and to improve their micro nutrient requirements Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition project in collaboration with Provincial Department of Agriculture North Western province initiated home garden diversification programme for 50 households. Home gardens were introduced to small land areas available in the home gardens majorly promoting containerized planting due to the water shortage situation prevailing within the area.
Project promoted usage of local plant cultivars and varieties which are resistant to drought, soil conservation and improvement tactics through compost, Biochar preparation and application, mulching, live fences, water conservation tactics through drip irrigation & pitcher irrigation systems, cultivation methods as minimum land preparation, vertical cultivation of crops and cropping in raised/sunken beds, containerized systems etc.

Planting materials, home garden tools, water storage tanks, drip irrigation systems and equipments distributed among the 50 households. Best farmer who maintains the home garden well and utilizing considerable portion of food items in daily meals, practicing good home garden practices promoting organic methods was selected at the end of the project in collaboration with BACC (Biodiversity for Adaptation to Climate Change) project.
To support the villagers in controlling pest and disease problems prevailing in their home gardens workshop on integrated pest management were also conducted at the pilot site. Demonstration was done on Department of Agriculture recommended “Neem seed” extract preparation. Home gardens were inspected by the officers and gave a practical exposure towards environmental friendly pest and disease control approaches. Workshop was held on 3 rd August 2018 with the technical expertise of Officers from Plant Protection service Gannoruwa.

Through home garden diversification villagers are supported to fulfill their daily food requirements while achieving food and nutritional security among the households.