By Dawn Lee –
Climate change impacts are felt cross the globe, and one of the key sectors that is impacted from climate change is agriculture. While the adverse impacts such as lack of rain, change of monsoon patterns, sudden floods, and droughts create losses and damage to the agriculture sector, the sector does also contribute to the increase of green house gas emissions through the use of chemical fertiliser. In order to address this issue, and adapt to climate change, there is a great need to shift from chemical based agriculture to toxin free agriculture.
Adaptation and Agriculture
Professor Buddhi Marambe from the University of Peradeniya, Chair of the Expert Committee on Adaption said, “Adaptation is an important aspect when addressing climate change. In this agriculture plays a key role. When adapting, we also need to keep in mind sustainable development.”
“The recently launched national programme on Toxin Free Agriculture in Sri Lanka is a really good example of the country moving towards low-external input sustainable agriculture,” he said.
Toxin Free Agriculture Policy
Chairman of Strategic Enterprise Management Agency, Sri Lanka Mr. Asoka Abeygunawardena, highlighted the transformative impact of policy and the importance of getting it right for sustainable agriculture.
“This is a three year programme which seeks to address the food security issue, as well as the toxin based agriculture issues in Sri Lanka. The farmers are provided awareness creation, and capacity building as well as resources to change from toxin based agriculture to organic and healthy agriculture.”
He further added, “Organic farmers no longer miss out on subsidies that were available to other farmers who use chemical fertilisers. They get subsidies too, and a guaranteed price per kilo for toxin-free traditional seed varieties,” he said, on efforts to increase organic and toxin-free production in the country.
Focusing on National & International Level
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Climate Action Network South Asia, Ms. Vositha Wijenayake said, “Now, more than ever, there exists the will to change and the understanding of why there is a need to shift from toxin based, emission increasing agriculture to climate friendly agriculture. Last year’s universal adoption of the development and climate change agendas supports this. What we need to do is to ensure that this momentum is harnessed for change that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable.”
SLYCAN Trust Programme Coordinator, Mr. Kavindu Ediriweera presented the case study of a project in the border villages of the war period in Trincomalee district that focuses on capacity building. The project hopes to direct the village inhabitants sheer courage towards transforming mainstream, toxin-based agriculture into more a sustainable alternative.