Farmers keen on soil testing to reduce fertiliser cost
Location Manager of the CIC Agri Business Centre Pelwehera
Local farmers are now more on to soil testing to reduce the
fertiliser cost in different cultivations.
Laboratory, Quality Control and Location Manager of the CIC Agri
Business Centre Pelwehera Priyanga Dematawa said they have noticed a
considerable growth in soil testing in their lab.
"Many tea smallholders are keen on doing soil testing before they
cultivate. There is an increased interest in vegetable and fruit farmers
to go for soil testing.
"Soil testing allows growers to identify whether the cultivation they
have chosen is suitable for the soil. "If the cultivation is not
suitable for growers, they have to spend large amounts of money for
fertiliser, which will increase the production cost of the harvest.
Paddy being tested in the laboratory.
"Through soil testing we advise growers on the kind of cultivations
they should use and the ingredients they need to add for better
harvesting, Dematawa said.
"We handle 22 samples and we could provide the test result within a
short period of time at our soil plant and water analytical Laboratory
in the Pelwehera farm. We provide these testing facilities at a
subsidised rate, Dematawa said. Most of the farmers believe that
nutrient deficiency of the soil is a disease in their plantation.
Farmers need to identify these nutrient deficiencies and put necessary
nutrients into the cultivation.
'The Sri Lankan agriculture sector has been subsidised for urea and
plants need other nutrition for better harvest.
The Soil, Plant and Water Analytical Laboratory was opened in 2003
with the technical support of the Phosphate and Potash Institute of
Lab Executive Sampath Pathiraja at the laboratory in the
Pictures by Shirajiv Sirimane
Pelwehera farm also has a tissue culture laboratory for production of
tissue culture planting material on a commercial scale. High quality
planting material of fruits and ornamental plants are produced at this
Dematawa said this laboratory provides over two million plants per
year specially banana plants.
The farm is also equipped with a seed-testing laboratory. All seeds
and planting material produced in the farm as well as throughout-growers
are subject to stringent quality tests at the lab.
The other facilities at the Pelwehera farm include agri-techno parks
and it has a variety of plants and endangered species. Green houses and
drip irrigation too are demonstrated at the park.
The farm also produces paddy, coconut and big onion seeds for the
local agricultural sector. Poultry and fresh water prawn farms are also
located in the Pelwehera farm. There is a huge demand for agriculture
tourism in Sri Lanka and the company expects to develop an agriculture
tourism site inside the farm, he said.