In Focus: Putting Safety First in Sri Lanka

In a country where one-third of the population works in agriculture, over-application of pesticides is a serious health and environmental issue. Even farmers who may be applying the correct quantity of pesticides might be putting their health at risk by not taking adequate safety precautions.

To combat this problem, the Sri Lanka Supporting Opportunities for Livelihoods Development (SOLID) project and its partner, CropLife Sri Lanka, are working with farmers to teach them to use pesticides more safely. The project began with training sessions, which encouraged participants to use alternative pest control methods and taught them to take precautions when they do use chemicals. In addition, the project paired these activities with posters, calendars, and notebooks that feature easy-to-understand cartoons to deliver simple messages about pesticide storage and application.

H.G. Kapilarathne, a ground nut farmer, explained that he used to get advice on pesticides from shopkeepers, but now he is following guidance from SOLID. “We tried the SOLID methods this season and we now see that there is no reason to unnecessarily spray pesticides. It has reduced our costs and increased our harvest!” he explained.

This initiative is part of SOLID’s broader goal to promote growth in the dairy, poultry, and horticulture sectors, particularly among women, youth, and other vulnerable populations. The project works to increase agricultural outputs so that subsistence farmers can become small-scale commercial producers.

In Focus is an occasional series highlighting photos from Chemonics' work around the world.

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