ECONOMYNEXT – A 75 percent of Sri Lankans are ready to continue the lifestyles taken up under the harsh conditions of COVID-19 enforced lockdowns during which many moved to home and rooftop gardening, SumedhaPerera Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture said.
“Sri Lankans have changed their attitudes and practices along with the effect of COVID-19 outbreak,” Perera said speaking at a panel discussion organised by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
“According to a recent research conducted by a group of Social Scientists of University of Ruhuna, it is found that nearly 75 percent of households are ready to continue activities initiated during the pandemic in post COVID- 19 period, including home gardening”.
About 46 per cent of households have understood that they were wasting foods and consumables.
According to reports world-wide people took up hobbies and home gardening has been a frontrunner.
The Ministry of Agriculture has introduced an initiative to boost this trend – SaubhagyaGewatta (Prosperous Home Gardens)
“To address the future demand for fruit and vegetables, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Agriculture introduced a home gardening programcalled SaubhagyaGewatta (Prosperous Home Gardens),” Perera said.
The program aims to develop one million home gardens.
Saubhagaya program has distributed 1.9 million seed packets during last Yala 2020 and expanded to 2.0 million in the on-going Maha 20/21.
“This program encourages rural seed farm projects, popularize organic fertilizer use, encourage production of home crops and promote home gardens for self-consumption,” he explained.
Sri Lanka also went on a home garden drive around 2007, when Federal Reserve money printing weakened the dollar and drove up food, oil and gold prices.
Mercantilists called it the ‘food crisis’ until US credit collapsed and commodity prices including oil and foods fell.
Sri Lanka also encouraged home gardening in the 1970s when money printing force a closure of the economy, and price controls triggered black market and shortages.
Some analysts have said that home gardening vegetables is expensive and unproductive in urban areas as it need pipe borne water.
In Sri Lanka many home owners grow banana, king coconut and mango and other fruit trees, in the long term which are rain fed and need little care or expense. (Colombo/Dec4/2020)