The City of Gampaha (7° 5’ – 7° 18’ N, 79° 50’ – 80° 02’ E), is a rapidly growing city in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. Among the 25 Districts of Sri Lanka, Gampaha is the second most populous district, with a total population of 2.1 million. The total population in the city, is 63,335 (2001 census), in 33 “Grama Niladari” (GN) divisions (smallest administrative unit).
The climate in Gampaha city is tropical, with an average annual temperature of 28°C and an annual rainfall of 2400 mm. The total land size of the Gampaha Municipal area is 2790 ha. There are 820 ha of agricultural lands. Major crops cultivated in Gampaha are paddy, coconut, rubber, vegetables, fruits and flowers. Large areas still exist under agricultural production, paddy cultivation, taking a prominent place. However, with drastic trends to move out from agricultural employments in past few decades because of high input costs, and lack of labour due to less interest in farmers and young generations on agricultural activities, have been resulted many owners to abandon the paddy land. Further, the recent escalation of land prices are a threat to these cultivable land, and the government has brought in strict legislature to prevent paddy land being sold for commercial construction. More recently, under “Api wawamu – Rata nagamu” (Lets grow and Uplift the nation) programme, and has created enabling environment to re-vitalise agricultural sector especially for paddy cultivation and home-gardening.
Gampaha Land-use Map
Starting from Seed; to reach the Table
FStT project started in January 2009. The main aim of the project is to strengthen the marketing capacities of urban producer group/s in Gampaha Municipal Council Area. After the project planning phase of first six months from February to June 09 the project has moved to its implementation phase in July. During the project planning stage, producer groups who have market potential were identified. Most of the farmers are part-time farmers while having small lands for cultivation. Green chillie (Capsicum annum) was selected to be produced by 100 farmers and sell through a wholesaler and exporter. Also, the various inputs suppliers, service providers, producers & marketers and inter-relations were mapped. It has been used to select what are the areas to be improved by technical and marketing innovations.
As an affiliated body to Department of Agriculture, Urban Agriculture Entrepreneurs Development Association has been established which consists producers from 10 cluster groups in 11 GN divisions in Gampaha Municipal Council area.
To start the activities of the first cropping cycle of Chillie, each producer has prepared business plans which include physical, natural, organizational and financial input requirements.
Technical and organizational capacity building has started by launching Urban Producer Field School programme and it will be conducted as a joint programme with Department of Agriculture. Programme provides hands on experiences of Chillie cultivation by adopting ecological principals. As a start up activity, healthy seedlings, composts and 70 % of the required pots were provided by the project. Composts were provided as interest free loan which will be paid back during the harvesting period.
Urban producers have established their first crop of Green Chillie in August. Nearly 20,000 plants have been cultivated by 93 producers and first harvest will be expected in October 09. Marketing mechanism is being set up these days.
At the initial stage of first crop cycle 20700 chillie plants, 4455 pots were distributed among 93 beneficiaries.
As per the marketing strategy 200 Kg/day of Green Chillie should be provided to whole sale buyer once the harvesting period started. Therefore, second crop of the Chillie should be established in October 09. Producers will produce the nursery plants and compost (at least 30 % of the total requirement) required for 2nd cycle.
Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF)
The Multi-Stakeholder Forum or “Nagarika Haritha Balakaya” – The green Force” is the body of developmental departments to build a green city in Gampaha where the RUAF-FStT project has been implemented. The MSF of Gampaha is comprised of Dept. of Agriculture – western province, Dept. of Agrarian Development, Dept. Animal Production and Health(WP), Health and Social Services (WP), Dept. of Botanic Garden, Divisional Secretariat Municipal Council Gampaha, Central Environment Authority, SANASA, Cooperatives(WP) and Wayamba University of Sri Lanka which coordinates the MSF.