The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a new natural farming program (implemented from March 2013 to June 2015) on agriculture production and household food security in Vaharai area in Eastern Sri Lanka. The new program featured non-tilllage, mulching with natural materials, indigenous microbes, compost, and indigenous seeds.
Data were collected among randomly selected 153 benefit households (HH) and 40 non-benefit HH by household survey. Women (~80%) were asked about accessibility to natural agricultural product, the number of meal per day, dietary diversity among HH members, the unit productivity, and input cost for home garden farming.
The accessibility of natural agricultural product was improved from 20% to 99% among 195 surveyed groups (62% in non-benefit groups). The irregular three-time meal consumption was lower among children in the benefit HH (3% vs. 7%), and the percentage of children that consumed more than 4 food groups per day was higher at 67%, compared to non-benefit group (52%). The unit productivity of Okra, Eggplant, Pepper, Bean, Bitter Melon, and Drumstick among benefit HHs increased by ~50% compared to before program implementation was not inferior to the conventional unit productivity in non-benefit groups (all p-values<0.05). Farming input cost was reduced significantly by 65% among benefit HHs, as comparing to non-benefit groups it was less than by 87.4%. (p-values<0.05)
New natural farming could contribute effectively to enhance income opportunity and sustainable food security among impoverished farmers in Eastern Sri Lanka. Thus, our approach could be considered as a medium of poverty-alleviation policy in the field of international agricultural development.