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Heritage Rice Cultivation

The consequences of commercialized rice cultivation

The introduction of mass production of cheap white and brown rice varieties has had some enormously damaging consequences. Large areas of rain forest have been burned to make large paddy areas, this has consequences not only for the climate but also deprives villages of natural sources of food. Far more irrigation is needed to grow rice in areas that are not traditionally suited to these strains, and the water levels of the tanks are being depleted. Huge amounts of pesticides are needed to produce a good yield as the subtle planting techniques of the different rice strains has been abandoned. The ever growing popularity of white rice which is cheaper, quicker to cook and picks up the flavour of the curry more easily is depriving the rural population of the nutritional value of the ancient varieties.

LHT's Heritage Rice Cultivation Programme

With the goal of returning traditional rice farmers back to the fields, saving ancient strains of rice and promoting a more nutritional diet amongst the villagers the Living Heritage Trust is undertaking a nationwide programme consisting of the following activities:

  • Donating seeds to farmers who will devote a certain proportion of their land to growing rice following traditional, organic methods;
  • Finding national and international markets;
  • Creating a network of traditional rice farmers in Sri Lanka in order that they may achieve export volume.

Surplus rice is already being produced ready for sale, and is being bought by diabetic institutes and restaurants. We now wish to expand this end market and would be delighted to provide more information in response to enquiries.