Improving watershed management and soil conservation in the Ratnapura and Kalutara districts through introducing climate smart agriculture and other livelihood related conservation measures

Project title:  Improving watershed management and soil conservation in the Ratnapura and Kalutara districts through introducing climate smart agriculture and other livelihood related conservation measures

Location: Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Palindanuwara, Bulathsinhala and Wewalkadura

Duration: 6 months (27 May to 30 November 2019)

Project Background:

This project is designed to provide “nature solutions” including land and water resource management to build resilience of communities in the Palindanuwara (Illukpotha Grama Niladhari Division), Bulathsinhala (Thannahena and Ihala Welgama Grama Niladhari Divisions) and Kalawana (Wewalkadura Grama Niladhari Division) Divisional Secretariat Divisions (DSDs). There are about 4,000 communities impacted by flood and landslides. At the same time, Palindanuwara and Bulathsinhala DSDs face extreme drought conditions. The drought conditions observed resulted over 25 hectares of abandoned paddy lands which contributes negatively to community nutrition and resilience.

This proposed work capitalizes on the baseline information and opportunity identification carried out by IUCN during 2018, that resulted in four project concepts in the same geography, namely a) Managing water, land and livelihood nexus in “Paravi Dola”, b) Creating synergy among research, knowledge, best practices, resources and market potential to improve the resilience of smallholder tea, c) Improved flood early warning system in Kalu River Basin to save lives and reduce injuries and d) Increasing competitiveness in global and local market place for “Miracle Kithul Syrup and Products.”  Based on the concepts, the International Labour Organization (ILO) created a project approach consisting of most of the identified needs/elements to improve the resilience in the area. The approach included soil conservation through introducing climate smart agriculture and other livelihood related conservation measures.

ILO awarded the project implementation to IUCN with the following two key output areas, namely, Output area 1: Climate Smart Agriculture and Management System that ensures the resilience of the people in the selected area through several climate smart interventions and Output area 2: Area based product development – based on the agriculture and other natural products in the area towards value added products with standards and labelling improved to capture high-end markets.

The project area is annually affected by floods and droughts. The vulnerable groups do not have the capacity to bounce back after disasters. In addition, the resources in the Government is not optimally coordinated to improve the resilience of the people. IUCN coordination and facilitation and its access to knowledge bases can be mobilized to improve the area-based resilience with funding from ILO.

Objectives of the project

Overarching goal of the project is to empower communities with knowledge, best practices, technology and resources to build their resilience to floods and droughts including climate induced challenges.

Specific objectives include

  • Improve resilience in at least 30 families in Palindanuwara and Bulathsinhala DSDs with climate smart agriculture, flood and Iron toxicity tolerant rice varieties, seed banks, cinnamon cultivation and home garden development
  • Promote tea related best management practices to tea small holders of Kalawana,  Palindanuwara and Bulathsinhala DSDs
  • Introduce land use management practices to protect stream banks (suitable plant varieties) of the “Paravi Dola” in the  Palindanuwara and Bulathsinhala DSDs
  • Improve access to “Palbima” village in Illukpotha Grama Niladhari division of the Palindanuwara DSD
  • Promote “Kitul” industry and its value chain to communities of Palindanuwara and Bulathsinhala DSDs

Expected Outputs

  • Potential erosions from disasters are controlled through the introduction of soil, water and land management best practices
  • Iron toxic and flood tolerant rice varieties to the paddy areas promoted
  • Economic and livelihood improvements of the communities are promoted  through climate smart seasons and crop varieties for better resilience
  • Public-Private-Community Partnerships to improve market access promoted
  • Reducing soil erosion and improving the yield by promoting best practices for SME tea growers
  • An overall income increases in the community leading to improved resilience
  • Increase area-based income (additional alternative) which in turn will improve community resilience of disaster affected communities
  • Develop a formal SME and MSME base around the “Kithul” industry that has significant export and local markets

Donor/s:  International Labour Organization

Partner/s: District Administration of Kalutara and Ratnapura districts, Dept. of Agrarian Development and area-based communities

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