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FAO Modernizes Farms and Boosts Income for Smallholder Farmers in Sri Lanka

June 28, Colombo (LNW): The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has modernized farms and introduced Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to over 600 smallholder vegetable farmers in Badulla, Monaragala, and Mullaitivu districts.

This initiative equipped targeted farmers with tools and knowledge to adopt modern, climate-resilient agricultural methods. Emphasizing GAP, participants received agriculture kits designed for 0.25 acres, including drip irrigation systems, plastic mulch, insect-proof nets, and Galvanized Iron (GI) pipes. These tools enable efficient resource use and cost reduction.

The FAO also facilitated capacity building through Farmer Field Schools (FFS), empowering farmers with the expertise to achieve GAP certification. Using extension approaches and organizing exposure visits to successful GAP farms, participants gained a comprehensive understanding of modern agricultural methodologies. Smallholder farmers received cash assistance through the World Food Programme (WFP) to meet their food and nutrition needs during the transition phase.

The initiative has yielded tangible results, with over 71 percent of participating farmers reporting significant improvements in crop quality and reduced pesticide and agrochemical usage. Insect-proof nets decreased pest infestations and diseases while reducing damage from wild animals like monkeys, peacocks, and wild boar, enhancing crop resilience and sustainability.

Additionally, over 70 percent of farmers reported increased total income, with over 24 farmers achieving profits exceeding Rs. 1,000,000 in a single cultivation season and more than 150 farmers surpassing the Rs. 500,000 mark. These figures highlight the significant economic impact of the program. The initiative also resulted in a 48 percent reduction in the average usage of chemical fertilizers per 0.25 acres of land, yielding substantial environmental benefits.

This intervention is part of a joint food security initiative funded by the UN Sri Lanka SDG Fund. The Fund promotes innovative, catalytic, and transformative initiatives that align with national priorities and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2023-2027). It is supported by Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Peace Building Fund, and the Joint SDG Fund.

Celebrating the farmers’ achievements across all three districts, an awards ceremony was held in Thanamalvila under the patronage of Australian Deputy Head of Mission Lalita Kapur, Agriculture Provincial Secretary Upali Jayasekara, and FAO Assistant Representative (Programme) Nalin Munasinghe. The event recognized exemplary achievements and underscored the pivotal role of GAP certification in enhancing market demand and fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

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