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Organic Agriculture Pilot project conducted by SLYCAN Trust

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Background

The objective of this project is to continue on the positive impacts derived from SLYCAN Trust’s previous project of organic farming in Trincomalee region. The pilot project serves as an effort to continue to emphasize the recognition of multiple marginalized communities living with the need for economic empowerment due to poverty within the region. The previous project has proved to be successful in not only providing them better income and harvest through introducing organic peanut farming, but also in empowering women through enhancing their financial security since women are the ones mostly responsible for farming related activities. In this pilot project, we wish to further enhance capacity building targeting not only women but youths as well as including all ethnicities in the dialogue of organic farming initiatives. Continuous effort will be put towards post-conflict development by establishing specific capacity building centers and providing locals the necessary knowledge and skill sets to successfully sustain an organic farm, and to develop a suitable market for it. This in turn will improve their livelihoods and conditions, empower small-scale farmers to control their own lives and further develop economically, to create a virtuous cycle that could alleviate poverty for many vulnerable households.

 

 

Organic Peanut Farming

Organic agriculture has been successful in increasing crop productivity, improving soil fertility and reducing chemical fertilizer. The change to crops that would be resilient to the climatic impacts on the chosen location significantly mitigates the aftermath of disasters, enhancing the security financially. Furthermore, the training program will include specific efforts put towards community members to resist the usage of chemical fertilizers, establishing a common effort for all to retrieve their traditional usage of natural fertilizers.  The capacity building center will also act as a platform for which members from different communities and ethnicities can have lasting dialogue to exchange knowledge of their traditional ways of handling crops whereby there is knowledge sharing on organic farming across ethnicities, and collaboration of multiple ethnicities in building capacity, developing skills, and governing seed banks for the use of organic farming in harmony with multiple ethnicities.

Existing Policies

To establish goals aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the pilot project is tailored to address areas of poverty eradication, good health and wellbeing, gender equality, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

Nationally, potential collaborations have been established with The Climate Change Secretary of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Mahaweli and Development, as well as the Ministry of Special Assignment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA) and Presidential Secretariat, on furthering activities on agriculture.Other local civil societies can also join in on the project dialogue to induce cooperation and knowledge sharing. In 2010, Sri Lanka agreed in the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit to set up a 'SAARC Seed Bank' to boost agriculture production in the region.  This was to provide regional support to national seed security efforts in order to address regional seed shortages through collective actions and foster inter-country partnership. Under the agreement, all member countries will have sufficient stocks of quality seeds, and in case of calamities, members can borrow from one another. Although this is not established on organic seeds, the idea of seedbank benefits multiple users in many ways.

 

This year, the Sri Lankan government initiated new efforts to reduce the use of toxic agrochemicals in farming through launching a three-year national program- "A Wholesome Agriculture - A Healthy Populace - A Toxin free nation."  This plays a crucial role in moving the country toward a low-impact, sustainable agriculture. Organic farmers now get subsidies too in addition to guaranteed price per kilo for toxin-free traditional seed varieties.

 

Goals:

- Induce rural economic development and enhancing small scale farmers’ decision making power. To promote community-based governance for resource mobilisation and distribution for agricultural development, giving power and voice to these rural farmers.

- Induce awareness on climate change impacts on agriculture, and best ways to adapt to these impacts, and multi-stakeholder engagement in farmer centric development initiatives.

 

Another important goal of the pilot project is establishing community-based and can be sustained by the community independently. Community Seed Banks (CSBs) is an important adaptation measure, which prevents further loss of crop diversity, ensures seed access for farmers, enables recovery from extreme events, and enables seed exchange between different communities. This would allow for farmers to control and manage their own crops and ensure their own security.

Way Forward

The pilot project merges poverty eradication, empowerment of individuals and resilience of farmers to the impacts of climate change on agriculture. In the short term, the program will benefit its participants by providing them with capacity building training to better nourish their families, and strengthen food security. It improves livelihoods for economically marginalised communities and help them build lasting skill-sets and knowledge which they can use in their own lives and also share amongst their own community or other ethnicities, creating a positive long-term impact.

In a post-conflict context, reconciliation efforts can be tackled through multiple dimensions, therefore, the new capacity building centers also serves to initiate dialogue and interactions between ethnicities, building working relationships between the groups involved, and basing its purpose on building the principle of respect for human rights in the form of democratic structures. All of these combine to generate a carefully assessed virtuous cycle of sustainable development. In addition, through observing the results of Trincomalee organic peanut farming project, we strongly believe in and strive towards the expansion of the pilot project to more areas than the ones covered in this proposal.

At the international level, SLYCAN Trust is involved with multiple stakeholders including UN actors, civil society networks such as the UNFCCC, UNDP, Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN), Climate Action Network International. The Trust is a partner of the Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) of the UNFCCC and a member of different CSO platforms.

At the 22nd Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC on November 2016, side event will be held at the Green Zone of the UNFCCC side event space. SLYCAN Trust will present an outline of project with the participation of a large number of international participants. Final outcome of the pilot project will be presented at the COP23 of the UNFCCC, in November 2017 following the completion of the project.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 October 2016 10:08  
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