Experts from two of the world-renowned institutes on organic agriculture in Switzerland, currently on a brief visit to study the country’s ecosystem, an initiative of A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd (Baurs), met with officials of the country’s leading industry research institutions and academics, including visits to farmer communities including key sites and facilities, with many more planned in their itinerary.
On 05th August, the team of experts held fruitful discussions with Mrs. H M J Ilankoon Menike, Additional Director General- Development of the Department of Agriculture in Peradeniya and Prof. D K N G Pushpakumara, Senior Professor- Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya, one of the oldest and pioneering institute in the country’s higher education in agriculture.
Whilst in Kandy, they visited an organic tea estate in Galaha and took a tour to the state-of-the-art laboratory of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies (NIFS) which conducts various cutting-edge research in natural and social sciences for the nation’s development and scientific advancement, including its Center for Advanced Research on Nitrogen Management in Agriculture (CARNMA).
They met with Dr. Lakshman Rodrigo- Director- Rubber Research Institute, Dr. Mrs. C S Ranasinghe- Director- Coconut Research Institute, and researchers including the principal agriculture scientist at The Centre of Excellence for Organic Agriculture in Makandura, the government body under the purview of under Department of Agriculture and Ministry of Agriculture.
The team visited conventional farmers in Kalpitiya and Thambuththegama, and observed some of the organic fertilizer processors at the Rajanganaya area including a tour to the Dambulla vegetable market. They also held a training session at the Baurs’ site in Anuradhapura for staff, agents, dealers, key farmers and compost producers, in adherence with strict Covid-19 health protocols, and went onto to observe a newly established organic project.
Their 10-day visit to study the country’s agro-ecosystem comes at a time when Sri Lanka stands firm in its decision to ban chemical fertilizers and pesticides and go onto embrace an organic food culture, to achieve a healthy nation under its ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ national policy framework.
The team of experts from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) in Switzerland together with Baurs will put together a scientific plan on a holistic approach towards embracing a practically viable organic agroecosystem.