Home Garden Diversification for Improved Nutrition and Livelihood in Udukumbura

Price stability of staple food products is a dominating factor determining household food security whereas, home gardens can subsidize the effect by providing direct access to food that can be harvested, prepared and consumed by households, often on a daily basis. Emphasizing the food insecurity persisting amongst the low-income populations in the rural areas of Sri Lanka home garden establishment was facilitated by the Biodiversity for Food & Nutrition project in collaboration with the Provincial Department of Agriculture - Central Province. Home gardens were introduced to economically challenged, landless or near landless, small patches of homestead land, vacant lots, roadsides or edges of a field, or in containers. The project promoted using locally available planting materials, green manure, “live” fencing and indigenous methods of pest control.

Majority of the population in Sri Lanka fulfils its energy primarily from cereals, which does not carter the daily required micro-nutrient content; thereby leading to diets with alarmingly less dietary diversity. Awareness on emphasizing the importance of consumption of a variety of food representing different food groups fulfilling the macro-nutrients and well as the micronutrient were disseminated via awareness platforms. Surplus production of the organic agro-biodiversity products from home gardens will be introduced into marketing outlets in the future and sold at different trade fairs and other income generating marketing avenues.
Home garden establishment and diversification targeting 50 households in the Udukumbura project pilot site has been initiated and established; addressing the micronutrient deficiencies and issues related to dietary diversity of households. Related workshops and trainings on methods and techniques of home gardening, organic cultivation, and production of compost with creating emphasis on the importance biodiversity for food and nutrition though home garden diversification has been successfully completed.

Planting material, home gardening tools & equipment were provided to the 50 households. Champion home gardeners will be selected for maintenance of high number of agro-biodiversity species, practice of good home gardening techniques, practice of organic cultivation, contribution to increased nutrition and livelihood.

A Diversity fair was held on 18th December 2017 with aim of identifying the diversity existing within the pilot site. The fair exhibited the agro-biodiversity found within home gardens and forest including cereals, pulses, root & tubers, vegetables, leafy vegetables, fruits and spices; along with various local dishes prepared utilizing available agro-biodiversity.