Ensuring environment sustainability – UNDP/ GEF SLCDF and HIFCO joint venture to address land degradation of Deltota Kandy

Kandetenna tank collects eroded soils
Degraded Lands
Action taken by Community to prevent soil erosion
Community with SLCDF Staff

Recently SLCDF signed an agreement with the Global Environment Facility/Small Grants Programme [GEF/SGP] of UNDP to address the adverse effects of Land Degradation towards Livelihood Development and Food Security.

The member NGOs of the Hill Country Forum for Community Organizations – HIFCO (Kandy District Consortium) led by Deltota Praja Sanwardena Padanama identified land degradation as one of the major environment issues of the district and developed this as a dire need of the community of three villages in Deltota Divisional Secretariat Division. The three villages covered under this project are namely, Gonangoda, Karagaskada North and Karagaskada South, bordering Kandetenna Tank, in the Deltota Divisional Secretary’s Division in the district of Kandy. This tank is fed by three channels – Mottamalai Kadura Pattiyagamawattha channel and Karagaskada channel.

The main goal of this project is to address the issues of environmental conservation by addressing land degradation, through engaging the community to follow systematic farming practices, which will help food security and sustainability in the long run. Sustainable natural resource development and management is fundamental to the livelihoods and food security of people in the project areas which will contribute to the achievement of MDG 7 – Ensuring environmental sustainability.

Most of the land of the area is with a slope of 60 to 70 degrees and have to be farmed carefully using SALT technologies. Most of these lands have become degraded already while the balance lands are being subjected to the process of land degradation. The area was identified as a hot spot, which need immediate attention of all the authorities.

The community of the area consist of three ethnic communities. Sinhalese and Muslim communities are the majority and there are a few Tamil families as well. The affected community in the project area have all along being involved in project planning.

After signing of formal agreement with the Kandy District Consortium in September 2014, a kick start was given to implement the project in October 2014. Three Participatory Rural Appraisals [PRA] with the participation of 30 – 40 families of each village was carried out by the well trained resource persons of the District Consortium. Most village women actively participated at these sessions. The needs identified have been discussed during the mobilization process, which will bring about enhanced community participation and also the social integration of the three communities.

The external consultant, Dr. Ranjith Punyawardene of the Department of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya visited the project area in October 2014 along with staff of SLCDF and gave necessary instructions to the community, NGO and the District Consortium to organize and plan land management practices before the rainy season. He also facilitated to get services of the Natural Resource Management Division of Peradeniya University. As a result a technical team of the division visited the project area during the first week of November 2014 and started surveying of land to identify suitable soil conservation methods for 95 acres of land.

The project is for two years commencing September 2014 to August 2016.