Compost preparation Puttalam , Sri Lanka © KEkaratne , 2009
This project sought to conserve the mangrove environment of Kalpitiya and develop agricultural practices such as home gardening.
The area around Kalpitiya lagoon, which lies next to Puttalam lagoon, is characterised by shallow water tables and permeable soils prone to leaching. These make its groundwater particularly vulnerable to contamination from the chemicals used in farming. Further, high rates of soil erosion cause sedimentation of silt in the lagoon’s mangrove ecosystem. Together, soil erosion and excessive use of chemicals have led to groundwater pollution and degradation of mangrove ecosystems in the area.
Thirty men and women of the communities in Kalpitiya.
As a result of the project, the fishing communities in Kalpitiya are more aware of the importance of the mangroves. Their community network has been strengthened, enhancing sharing of knowledge among villagers. A mangrove nursery was successfully established to supply replanting, and will continue to be maintained. Encouraged by the positive results and benefits of home gardening, project beneficiaries have been motivated to adopt it as an additional source of food and income.
One drawback of the project was a lack of participation. Another was the lack of mangrove maps and related information, which hindered implementation of mangrove replanting and the nursery programme. A severe drought lasting 5–6 months also delayed mangrove replanting and planting of home gardens, and limited watering of crops.
The project mounted a drawing exhibition to create environmental awareness, and sought to involve both women and men in its activities.
Mapping and planning of destroyed or degraded mangrove areas are needed to support any replanting programme, and constant awareness-raising efforts are needed to instil local appreciation of the importance of mangroves.
Successes were achieved in two main areas. First, the target communities developed an interest and desire in protecting the mangrove ecosystem. Second, the project introduced the communities to home gardening as an alternative means of providing food and cash income.
The activities started by the project have now been integrated with a larger agricultural development programme, helping to support the planning, implementation and monitoring that will ensure their long-term sustainability.
Puttalam, Sri Lanka
1st Jan 2009 to 31st Dec 2009
432A, 2nd Floor, Colombo Road,
Tel: +94 47 5675614