A Committed Practitioner in Integrated Agriculture

Fifty three year old Ms. A.M. Heenmenike and her husband with two daughters and a son, all married and living separately hail from Mahasenpura-I G.N. Division in Buttala Divisional Secretary’s Division in the Moneragala District. She is an active member of the Mahasenpura-I CBO and participate fully in the Integrated Agriculture project funded by Hope International Development Agency currently tailing off, and being implemented by the local NGO, Wellassa Kantha Sahayogitha Padanama.
Heenmenike benefited immensely from all training programmes conducted under this project, Cornerstones and animal management training programmes, in relation to the dairy component, and the Conservation Farming training programmess conducted by Mr. Sarath Chandra Fernando and Mr. Tilak Kandegama. She was fortunate to have participated in most of the on-the-job training done by Dr. R.W.K. Punchihewa, the beekeeping expert commissioned by SLCDF to render technical advice to the project.
She gained much new knowledge and skills relating to integrated farming from the training programmes and also put most of it into actual practice, thereby deriving sustainability and improved incomes. Heenmenike adopted a new crop mix among many other improved conservation practices which enabled her to get a stable income almost right round the year. She joined the group visit to the Ukuwela conservation farm being run by Mr. Tilak Kandegama and his organization, in the Matale district and was able to adopt some of the improved practices observed there on her farm as well.
She has three bee boxes in her home garden and by now has been able to extract 3 -1/2 bottles of honey from one, which she can retail at around Rs.1200/- per bottle in and around her own village. The integrated farm provided her fresh chemical free produce for her family, mostly consumed within the family.
Heenmenike received as a pass on gift the first born female calf from Ms. Karunaratne of Mahasenpura-II. The cow dung from the calf is used productively on her improved home garden.
The traditional seed paddy collected from the Ukuwela farm she was able to multiply and share with several others in her village.
Heenmenike has managed to cultivate samba paddy in her paddy field extending over one acre and sold the harvest at Rs.45 per kilo, deriving an income of Rs.18,000 in one season. The highland chena yielded good crops of maize and chillies giving an income of Rs.30,000 for the last season. The surplus produce from her integrated farm she has sold to the retail outlet run by the Buttala District Secretariat, the local Government agency.
Heenmenike says her family is more united since this project took root in her village and they never idle nowadays. Her ambition is to further improve her farm so that it serves as a model for all the villages in the vicinity.