'I don’t have to buy vegetables from the market anymore, I grow it myself. Thanks to my training from MONLAR. Now I am getting it all from the garden and have food free of poisons. It’s safe easy and fresh’.
says Jayasiri proudly. She used to spend 300 rupees a week (a large sum for poor farmers with little income) feeding her husband, three children, sister-in-law and her child.
Jayasiri used to grow only chilies – an essential ingredient in Sri Lankan cooking. All that changed after she attended a home garden and composting course run by MONLAR. Now she has tomatoes, okra, spinach, thampala, beans, finger millet, chillies, paw paw, melons, bananas, coconuts, yams and cassava. ‘I’ve even been able to sell some surplus okra and beans’ she says.
A key part of Jayasiri’s success comes from low cost organic farming techniques and the support she had from MONLAR filed officers. ‘I use no chemical pesticides or fertilizers, only straw and make my own compost – liquid organic fertilizer which I also use against pests’.
The home garden programme has taught Jayasiri to make the best use of a small garden and she no longer needs to worry about how she will feed her children.
MONLAR (Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform). MONLAR was formed as part of a network of people’s organizations at the beginning of 1990 in response to the serious socio-political and economic crisis that emerged in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s.