Ballanmaldigana traditional Rice farming and irrigation Rehabilitation project



Food Security, Sutainable Farming and Community Education   


Sustainable farming is the foundation stone of the glorious ancient civilizations of Sri Lanka. During various foreign invasions, people were systematically became dependant on commercial crops resulting traditional farming to fade. Small farm communities however, have been protecting those traditional farming techniques. Indigenous crop varieties, mainly rice and the knowledge associated with traditional farming had survived well until the invasion of Green Revolution during the late 1960’s. Introduction of hybrid crops together with agrochemical and chemical fertiliser in Sri Lanka impacted traditional crop varieties and caused the traditional techniques to be extinct.  Most of all, the concentration of heavy metal such as arsenic in rice fields that leads to kidney failures, impacts numerous health issues among farmers in dry zone. The rising cost of agrochemicals along with farm machinery also has led to rising farmers’ debts as well as detrimental effects on the soil, water plant, wild life and entire ecosystem.

Sri Lankan government has recognized this problem, yet it has no legitimate intervention strategy to face the challenge coming from industry giants of agrochemicals and fertilizers. Producing their own seeds which had once become bottom line in traditional farming has now commercialized to the extent where farmers are on the verge to lose the rights of producing their own seeds. 

Promoting traditional varieties of crops has become the priority initiative of VCF. We support small farmers and farm organizations to strengthen their management capacity to promote indigenous crop varieties, use of organic fertilizer, and to acquire integrated pest and decease management systems.



Ancient irrigation system in Sri Lanka is one of the most sustainable rain water management systems in the world. The dry zone in Sri Lanka is covered with thousands of small, medium and large reservoirs of interconnected cascading systems. The Combination of earthen water storage bunds, coupled with sluice gates, spill ways, river diversion dams built with stones and water distribution canals have been designed to the highest level of sophistication. Stored water of these systems meant for multiplicity purposes such as: farming, domestic uses, town supply, animal husbandry, wild life and as erosion control means. Most of the medium and large systems that have been abandoned were reconstructed to their original use and managed by the government departments; however, small scales reservoirs are managed by farm organizations of villages.

VCF’s research interest focuses on the small-scale reservoirs that are adapted to the lifestyles of village communities. These reservoirs are managed and maintained by communities and, as a result sometimes they are abandoned and neglected. The survival of the village and farming sector (that manages the reservoirs) is challenged by several issues that have sprung up from socio political and economic development forces in and around them. VCF studies these issues, support rehabilitation work and assist farm organizations to strengthen their organizational capacity to manage and maintain the reservoir systems.

Read about our recent involvement in Ballanmaldigana irrigation reservoir rehabilitation project

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VCF believes education as the key foundation for community development. Community education support is to assist communities who do not have access to education to cope with their needs. VCF arranges to send Canadian volunteers/ teachers to work with project communities to teach English, Information Technology and to provide extra help for students in formal education institutions. VCF also will train volunteers in Community planning procedures in order to integrate sustainable planning concepts in to their teaching curriculums. This program allows Canadian volunteers to gain cultural experience, to strengthen relationship and opportunities for networking. This also facilitates in building partnerships and business opportunities between farm organizations, youth, women and civil society organizations in Canada and in Sri Lanka.
Under this program, volunteers will be provided with food and accommodation, local travel etc. In-country logistics will be handled by the Chamber of Commerce of Wayamba Province. VCF will also attempt to find funding for international travel for Volunteers who could not afford travel but are ready to commit their time more than 3 months. They will work with children, youth and women groups in VCF project communities in Sri Lanka. Read more

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