Tea production plummets

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Original Article: Link

By Sandun Jayawardana

‘The drought is killing the tea industry’

Drying up tea plantation

Drying up tea plantation


The prevailing drought has had a severe adverse impact on producers of both low-grown and high-grown tea, with many struggling to cope due to a sharp drop in production.

“There has been no rain in this area for 48 days. As a result, our produce for March is down by 75 per cent compared to last year,” said Nilantha Weerasinghe, Factory Manager of Broadlands Tea Factory at Kalugala in the Nuwara Eliya district.

The area had received rain on just five days in the previous two months – two days in January and three in February. “The situation for tea producers here is precarious,” Mr. Weerasinghe observed grimly.

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Farmers Threaten To March To Colombo

Original Article: Link

by Camelia Nathaniel


Farmers protest







Having gone through many hardships during the previous regime the farmers were hopeful of a better future when they supported President Maithripala Sirisena, whom they identified as a leader hailing from the farming community. However farmers today are disgruntled with the lack of commitment to their issues by the government and charge that they have been let down by the government.

In protest of the step motherly treatment they are being dished out by the current government, the farmers are planning a series of protests and according to the JVP affiliated All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation, the farmers are planning to march to Colombo in their traditional farming attire – the loin cloth – next week if their grievances are not addressed.

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How that Cheap Prawn Sandwich of yours is Ruining Sri Lanka’s Coasts


WRITTEN BY-Mark Huxham Professor of Teaching and Research in Environmental Biology at Edinburgh Napier University

Date posted- July 24 2015 on qz.com

Original Link- http://qz.com/463195/how-that-cheap-prawn-sandwich-of-yours-is-ruining-sri-lankas-coasts/

The industry of farming of shellfish is dominated by the likes of China, Vietnam and Thailand.However a large number of other countries have invested heavily in cultivation too. One is Sri Lanka, which saw the industry as a passport to strong economic growth and widespread employment.The country saw an explosion of unregulated aquaculture on the island in the 1980s and 1990s, bringing riches to a few and the hope of riches or at least an income to many more.

But as a result of poor coastal management, thousands of hectares of the coastal region in the west of Sri Lanka once covered in lush mangrove forests now holds many abandoned ponds for cultivating tiger prawns. Also, an additional issue is the sinking shoreline. In the face of global rising sea levels of more than 3mm a year, healthy mangrove forests are among the best protection since they bind together sediments and even elevate their soils to match the rising tide. Lose them and the chances of coastal subsidence, erosion and storm damage goes up.

Original Link- http://qz.com/463195/how-that-cheap-prawn-sandwich-of-yours-is-ruining-sri-lankas-coasts/

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Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in Northwestern Sri Lanka

A sustained program of research under AgMIP (Agricultural Model Inter-comparison and Improvement Project)  has led to the implementation for climate, crop, and economic models for rice agricultural systems in Sri Lanka.

Research under this program included generating future climate projections, using them to drive crop models that feed into integrated climate–crop–economic models that in turn quantify climate impacts on livelihoods and poverty.

A summary of the research was published recently and NASA TRS has made a scan of this chapter available on its website.

See the Chapter


L. Zubair, S.P. Nissanka, W.M.W. Weerakoon, D.I. Herath, A. Karunaratne, A.S.M.P.M.B. Agalawatte, R.M. Herath, A. E. N. Wijekoon, B.V.R. Punyawardhene, S. Z. Yahiya, P.Delpitiya, S.S.K. Chandrasekara, J.Gunaratna, J. Vishwanathan, P. Wickramagamage, K.D.N.Weerasinghe, C.M. Navaratne, T.M.R.S. Perera, A.A.I. Gunesekara, P. Gajanayake, and D. Wallach, Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in Northwestern Sri Lanka. In the Volume:  The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP): Integrated regional assessment projects. In Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications. D. Hillel and C. Rosenzweig, Eds., ICP Series on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation Vol. 2. Imperial College Press, 263-280.

doi: 10.1142/9781783265640_0022

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Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories

Simple way to cook rice

There is room for improvement

Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations’ cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90 percent of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. In the Caribbean, where the starch is often mixed with beans, it’s a staple too. Even here in the United States, where people eat a comparatively modest amount of rice, plenty is still consumed.

Rice is popular because it’s malleableit pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food—and it’s relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn’t that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.

But what if there were a simple way to tweak rice ever so slightly to make it much healthier?

An undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka and his mentor have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice.

[Scientists have figured out what makes Indian food so delicious]

“What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook,” said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. “After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That’s it.”

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Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in Northwestern Sri Lanka-Poster Presentation

Lareef Zubair1, Sarath Nissanka2, W.M.W. Weerakoon3, Dumindu Herath1, Asha Karunaratne4, Prabodha Malinga Bandara Agalawatte1, R.M. Herath5, Erandika Wijekoon1, Zeenas Yahiya1, Sewwandhi Chandrasekara1 and Janan Viswanathan1, (1)Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology, Rajawella, Sri Lanka
(2)University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
(3)Department of Agriculture, Maha Illuppallama, Sri Lanka
(4)Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, Sri Lanka
(5)Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Work under Agricultural Model Inter-Comparison and Improvement Program (AgMIP) has led to the development of state-of-the-art climate, crop, and economic models for irrigated rice agricultural systems in Sri Lanka. The climate projections based on CMIP5 show a clear increase in temperature in the mid-twentieth century for a high greenhouse gas concentration pathway. The rainfall shows a slight increase for a preponderance of the 20 GCMs in the CMIP5 archive, with the highest increase for the early phase of the Maha season (October-March). During the Yala season (April to September),  more than half of the models showed a decline, including 4 of 5 GCM that were selected for detailed analysis.The DSSAT crop model simulations with climate change scenarios showed relative yields that were lower (by -6 to -15% for the Maha and by -24 to -37% for the Yala). After implementing adaptation strategies relative yields increased for both seasons (0.5 – 6% for Maha and from 67 to 78% for Yala).

Analysis of gains, losses, poverty rates were conducted (with the TOA-MD model) for two villages in the North-Western Kurunegala district- Migalewa (Maha and Yala) and Kadawaramulla (Maha).   The projected climate change brings negative economic impacts for 55-74% and 77-85% farmers during Maha and Yala seasons under the five GCMs.  However, for both sets, poverty rates for the future under a future production system showed a very slight decline-except under GCM: HadGEM2-ES – compared with the current climate under a future production system- Question 2. Adaptation measures led to slight (5-14% ) increase in per capita income in comparison.

Analysis based on scenarios with relatively small rainfall increases show a drop in yields in both seasons, being particularly deleterious in the Yala season. In the latter case, use of shorter-duration varieties, changes in the planting dates and improved cultivars led to substantial recovery of losses. Analysis of climate change impacts on water constrained rice agriculture is underway as this mode accounts for a large majority of cultivation.

Poster Number 101

Original Link- https://scisoc.confex.com/scisoc/2014am/webprogram/Paper90801.html

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