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02/16/2017

Difficulty of timing of rain

The anxiety caused by drought due to climate change in Sri Lanka was discussed in our previous staff blog. However, this time we are writing of the damage to farming caused by rain.

Once the rainy season begins, many families in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu cultivate beans such as black eyed peas, azuki beans, peanuts etc.

They utilize huge plots of land, ranging from 500 square metres to 1000 square metres, which is beyond the imagination of ordinary families in Japan, and which allows them to harvest between 35 kg to 50 kg of beans.

The harvested beans are divided into three portions; those to sell at market, those to eat at home, and those to preserve as seeds for the next cultivation. Beans which are preserved as seeds for next time will be planted for longer and dried naturally.

Once these beans are harvested, they are stored in a dry place for 45 days. After that, people can plant these beans as seeds again. If beans are not dried enough and then planted as they are, an abundant crop of beans cannot be expected even if the seeds sprout. 

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[Cultivation full of black eyed peas in farmland]

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[Dried mung beans as seeds for cultivation]

Since black eyed peas and azuki beans do not require much water, lots of seeds could be
harvested this season notwithstanding the small amount of rainfall.

However, during this year’s harvest, heavy rain continued for a week in Mullaitivu damaging seeds which need to be dried naturally. Wet crops sprout easily so they are not suitable for food.

Moreover, they cannot be used as seeds for the next cultiv ation as they aren’t sufficiently dried. Farmers regretfully showed us their damaged crops.

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[Black eyed peas which sprouted due to rain]

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[Damaged mung beans]

Thus, it doesn’t rain when it’s necessary but on the other hand, it rains when sunshine is needed. This often occurring situation repeatedly places those people reliant upon farming for their living into a vulnerable position.

In Sri Lanka, where the weather is continuously unstable due to climate change, a further measure to minimize this risk is required.

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February 16, 2017 in Sri Lanka |