A New Spin on an Old Crop.

“Now there is no water depositing in particular areas of the plant. Every plant is watered equally. The sprinklers also help to wash away the insects and dew that collects on the leaves of the plant. This has reduced disease outbreaks, and we spend less on pesticide. The most important thing I learned from this experience is that I can increase my income by using technology.”

Thushari Wedisinghe, Farmer in the Anuradhapura District

“The cost of chili cultivation is so unbearable. We have to spend on seed, fertilizer, pesticide, labor, and when there is no rain or Kerosene for the water pump.”

D.M.K. Nadeesara, Farmer in the Anuradhapura District

Farmers also learned how to use sprinkler irrigation systems to reduce water use and labor. This method replaces a more traditional watering approach known as flood irrigation. Through flood irrigation, farmers simply flooded their fields to water them, sometimes wasting water and damaging plants in the process. The process was also time- and labor-intensive because it typically required two people and could take up to three hours to water just one-half acre of land.

In contrast, sprinklers are gentler, less wasteful, and still wash away pests that often plague chili plants. A simple turn of a tap takes care of the watering. As a result, farmers do not need to be as involved in watering their plants, and can focus on growing other crops in addition to chilies.

“Now there is no water depositing in particular areas of the plant. Every plant is watered equally,” reflected Thushari Wedisinghe, another farmer from the Anuradhapura District. “The sprinklers also help to wash away the insects and dew that collects on the leaves of the plant. This has reduced disease outbreaks, and we spend less on pesticide. The most important thing I learned from this experience is that I can increase my income by using technology.”

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farmers learned new chili cultivation methods and adopted innovative technologies to improve their productivity

Prior to the intervention, Ms. Wedisinghe generated an income of around LKR 150,000, and sometimes as low as LKR 60,000 per season. After the first season of implementing these changes, however, she increased her income to LKR 185,000.

Overall, these new techniques and tools have helped farmers improve their incomes and financial stability, and increase the Anuradhapura District’s economic potential.

“[Before the intervention] my farming income was just enough to survive,” Ms. Wedisinghe said. “Now I have enough to live and to save.”