24 seafarers at SLPA’s Mahapola Ports & Maritime Academy complete their training – The Island

To support the nation’s efforts towards organic farming

A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd., also known as Baurs, is a name recognized for pioneering work in the agricultural landscape of the country, recently supported a team of organic farming experts from Switzerland who revisited Sri Lanka in early February.

The team consisted of Prof. Christoph Studer, Professor for Management of Natural Resources at the University of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL), Dr. Jacques G. Fuchs, Senior Scientist in Plant Pathology and Soil Quality and Mr. Paul van den Berge, Senior Advisor at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL).

The revisit marks the second phase of the comprehensive study, followed by an in-depth analysis and assessment that was completed in August last year when the team was on a 10-day visit to conduct preliminary studies, including meetings with various stakeholders to assess the Understanding agroecosystems. This time, the purpose was to further investigate the strategically identified potential areas based on the initial findings.

During their 9-day visit, the experts held meetings with Department of Agriculture officials to understand the government’s current stance on its green agriculture policies and visited key institutions such as the Rice Research & Development Institute (RRDI) and the Field Crop Research & Development Institute (FCRDI), Farm Mechanization Research Center (FMRC), University of Peradeniya Faculty of Agriculture Sub Campus in Mahailluppallama and Tea Research Institute (TRI) to examine their involvement and future initiatives in this direction.

This included discussions with Field Crop Research and Development Institute (FCRDI) officials and academia to explore opportunities for intercropping legumes between two rice seasons as a sandwich crop. The experts visited the Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council to examine the waste management process of outlying towns. The council members, led by the mayor, shared the process and experiences of waste management in the city of Nuwara Eliya. They also visited the largest wholesale vegetable and fruit market in Dambulla, a leading local milk producer, a private poultry farm and a composting facility in Chilaw to observe and study the availability of raw materials for the production of organic inputs.

As part of Baurs’ cooperation with FiBL and HAFL, Jacques Kohli, a graduate of the Bern University of Applied Sciences, is conducting a detailed study on the availability of raw materials for organic fertilizer production and their manufacture through possible uses as an intern at Baurs.

They also met with officials from the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) and a bio-fertilizer manufacturer to understand their point of view on government guidance and seek possible collaborations, including discussions with policymakers such as Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) and National Plant Quarantine Service.

In addition, they also visited Umandawa Global Buddhist Village in Kurunegala and farm fields in Dambulla and Nuwara Eliya and Idalgashinna Organic Tea Garden to observe and study the farming practices and ecosystem. The experts conducted training sessions for farmers as a follow-up to the training sessions during their first visit, to better understand and solve problems faced by farmers in organic farming, and also initiated a knowledge-sharing session for senior managers and the Baurs marketing team .

About Christine Geisler

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