To support the nation’s efforts towards organic farming
In its ongoing efforts to share scientific and practical solutions for successful conversion from conventional to organic agriculture, A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., also known as Baurs, a name synonymous with pioneer in the country’s agricultural landscape, recently led a team of organic farming experts from Switzerland who revisited Sri Lanka in early February.
The team included Professor Christoph Studer, Professor of Natural Resource Management at the School of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Sciences (HAFL), Dr Jacques G Fuchs, Senior Researcher in Plant Pathology and Soil Quality and Mr Paul van den Berge, Consulting Director of the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL).
The new visit marks the second phase of the in-depth study, followed by an in-depth analysis and assessment completed in August last year when the team made a 10-day visit to conduct preliminary studies, including meetings with various stakeholders to understand the agricultural ecosystem. This time, the objective was to further investigate the potential areas strategically identified based on the initial results.
During their 9-day visit, the experts held discussions with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture to understand the government’s current position on its green agriculture policy and visited key institutions such as the Institute of Rice Research and Development (RRDI), the Field Crops Research and Development Institute. (FCRDI), the Agricultural Mechanization Research Center (FMRC), the Faculty of Agriculture sub-campus of the University of Peradeniya in Mahailluppallama as well as the Tea Research Institute (TRI) to study their involvement and future initiatives in this direction.
This also included discussions with officials from the Field Crops Research and Development Institute (FCRDI) and universities to explore the possibilities of intercropping legumes between two paddy seasons as a sandwich crop. The experts visited Nuwara Eliya City Council to study the waste management process of outlying towns. Council members led by the mayor shared the process and experience on waste management of Nuwara Eliya city. They also visited the largest wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Dambulla, a major local dairy farmer, a private poultry farm and a composting site in Chilaw to observe and study the availability of raw materials for the production of agricultural inputs. biological.
As part of Baurs’ collaboration with FiBL and HAFL, Bern University of Applied Sciences graduate Jacques Kohli is working with Baurs as an intern on carrying out a detailed study on the availability of raw materials for production organic fertilizers and their potential uses.
They also met with officials from the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), the Institute of Industrial Technology (ITI) and a bio-fertilizer manufacturer to understand their position on the governments direction and seek possible collaborations, including discussions with decision makers such as Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) and National Plant Quarantine Service.
In addition, they also visited Umandawa World Buddhist Village in Kurunegala and agricultural fields in Dambulla and Nuwara Eliya and Idalgashinna Organic Tea Garden to observe and study agricultural practices and ecosystem. The experts organized training sessions for farmers as a follow-up to the trainings of their initial visit to better understand and solve the problems faced by farmers in organic farming, and also launched a knowledge sharing session for senior managers and the Baurs marketing team.