Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 1 Number 2 (2009)

doi: 10.3850/S179392400900011X

Perceptions of the Paddy Comunitues Towards Climate Change in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka

K. W. G. Rekha Nianthi1 and Abhoy Chandra Mohapatra2
Nianthi, K. W. G. Rekha; Mohapatra, Abhoy Chandra
1Department of Geography, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
2Department of Geography, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, India.


Farmers’ perceptions towards climate change and adjustment of farm management practices in Sri Lanka have been examined in this paper. As the Dry zone in Sri Lanka is a water deficit area, paddy cultivation in the region could be highly vulnerable to climate change. To understand the reality of climate variability and its impact on the paddy cultivation in this region, three villages with a total of 99 households were selected (33 percent systematic random sampling) from Kekirawa Division in the Anuradhapura District, wholly constituting of rice farmers. Households and farm level information were collected through a structured questionnaire and discussions with the communities. The study reveals that during the last few decades, the pattern of rainfall has significantly changed in the region. Farmers have noted a variety of changes in the climate affecting their principal means of livelihood (erratic weather patterns, general increase in temperature in the region with reduced incidence of rainfall). Weather disturbances such as cyclones, storms, un-seasonal rains have also been observed to be on the increase. The increase in average temperature conditions, especially in the last two decades, combined with decreased rainfall during the Northeast Monsoon season has debilitating effects on farming communities. Farmers have switched over to Chena Cultivation instead of paddy cultivation due to uncertain pattern of rainfall, particularly the Yala (summer) rice cultivation. There is, therefore, the need to create community awareness and farmers’ education on climate change and its possible hazards and in the manner farming communities could cope with the changing conditions. The dependence on rice could to be reduced and other crops less susceptible to droughts could be promoted for the community. Less water dependent agriculture and cultivation of alternative crops and cropping of drought resistant varieties could be encouraged.

Keywords: Climate change; Rainfall and temperature; Variability; Community.

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