The Sustainable Agricultural Research Centre (DCSARC) was established at the Moratuwa MJF Centre to focus on biochar research. It was established jointly with the Provincial Agricultural Ministry of the Western Province. This center will function as an eco park with the facilities for research, implementation, monitoring and investigation of bioremediation methods.
The objective of this programme is to use science to convince the government authorities involved in agriculture related activities that technology is now available to improve the sustainability of agriculture in Sri Lanka. Dilmah Conservation envisages that agriculture no longer needs to be either chemical fertiliser based or completely organic fertiliser based. The Centre will conduct carbon release tests, in order to harvest the wealth of CO2 locked in the soil, before and after biochar usage to prove that carbon sequestration could be achieved by applying biochar in agriculture.
Garden in a Tray: Unpredictable weather conditions are leading to the decline in food crops all over the world with warnings of an imminent food shortage in the near future. In order to address and remedy the situation; a practical concept called ‘Garden in a Tray’ was introduced by DCSARC. This miniature garden consists of 25 one month old vegetable plants grown in a special tray, and includes tomato, okra, aubergine, capsicum, chilli, salad leaves, bitter gourd, beetroot, bushita pea and cabbage. These trays are ideal for any household including apartments with limited space. Once fully grown, the trays can provide a crop of vegetables for upto 3-months.
MJF 081 – High yield tomato variety: DCSARC unveiled a new tomato variety named MJF 081 in honour of the founder of Dilmah tea, Merrill J. Fernando, on his 81st birthday. MJF 081 was developed through selections made from introductions from Taiwan. They were tested for yield trials in different agro-ecological zones. The key characteristics of this variety are its high yield – 28t/ha which is 40 per cent more than the normal yield of 20t/ha and its high carotene levels, identified as being 10 times more than the normal yield varieties.