Participatory rice variety selection in Sri Lanka

Hambantota District is a major paddy (rice) producing area in the southern coastal region of Sri Lanka. Communities here have been experiencing salt water intrusion into their rice fields, leading to reduced yields. This has been caused largely by seawater contamination of irrigation systems. Farmers had been using saline-resistant varieties developed at the rice research station, Ambalantota, but in badly affected areas these varieties were still failing. This article focuses on work done to identify traditional rice varieties suitable for cultivation in the degraded paddies through a process of participatory research.