Case Study Summary

A Study on Empowering Smallholder Farmers for Climate-Smart Agriculture in the Sri Lankan Tea Sector

Regional Hub: Australasia
Country: Sri Lanka
Action for Climate Empowerment Element: Training

The Sri Lankan tea industry, which produces Ceylon Tea, is vulnerable to climate change. Unfortunately, smallholder tea farmers, the majority having less than one acre of tea cultivation, are severely affected. To address this issue, the Alliance for Sustainable Landscape Management (ASLM) and the Program Coordinator for Rainforest Alliance in Sri Lanka, initiated “Empowering Tea Smallholders Through Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices.” 

Through workshops, the initiative gathered site-specific information about the adverse consequences of climate change in different geographical locations in Sri Lanka. It provided Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)-based solutions, including integrated weed management, soil fertility enhancement, water conservation, and increased tea yields through improved health of tea bushes. Several model demonstration sites were established to showcase these solutions.

This case study will be carried out by a team of two researchers from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, and one designer of the CCE initiative from Arpico Plantations PLC. The team will interview smallholder tea farmers and observe their CSA-based practices in Sri Lanka’s Southern, Sabaragamuwa, and Central provinces to assess how they have been empowered by the initiative. The team will also analyze documents and resources, including Rainforest Alliance awareness videos on tea farming, training manuals and materials, and farmer progress monitoring records to complement the data from the interviews and field visits. The study further conducts laboratory tests to compare drinking water samples from five tea blocks, including CSA-implementing and non-implementing households, to assess the initiative’s effectiveness in improving water quality. Results and findings from this study will help to identify the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of the CSA initiative and contribute to shaping and sustaining the CSA practices.

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