Adapting Technologies: Rice in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has experienced an increase in temperatures and relatively low rainfall for an extended period over the last 20 years, leading to a decrease in ground water levels. At the same time, increased sea levels have also caused sea water intrusion into coastal lagoons and estuary systems, causing the destruction and slow change of existing habitats. Salt water in Sri Lanka's coastal rice fields is a problem that is certain to get worse as sea levels keep rising in the long term. Practical Action's work has included farmer-led trials of traditional and modern rice varieties which are saline-tolerant, temperature-resistant and pest-resistant.

Forgotten types of indigenous rice can offer a home grown solution to the increasing soil salinity. There are around 2,000 traditional rice varieties in Sri Lanka. Many are very high in nutritional value and have medicinal properties, and most are resistant to extreme drought conditions, diseases and pests. These varieties were traditionally grown using natural inputs such as organic manure, and no chemical fertilisers or pesticides were used. Farmers with Practical Action have worked on a number of trials on various rice varieties to see if they could withstand salinity and this has resulted in increased rice production and lower levels of chemical fertilizers. Read More....

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