Dilmah Conservation Sustainable Agriculture Research Centre
The Dilmah Conservation Sustainable Agriculture and Research Centre (DCSARC) in Moratuwa is an educational facility designed to disseminate knowledge on innovative and sustainable organic farming and healthy living practices. It uses specially designed plots to educate visitors on how small urban spaces and can be converted for eco-friendly home gardening uses that have a positive impact on families and the environment at large.
DCSARC maintains demonstration plots to teach individuals about:
- How to create economically viable organic fruit, vegetable and medicinal plant plots in limited urban garden spaces
- How disposed items such as plastic bottles and rubber tires can be used to improve the productivity of garden spaces
- How to create vermiwash fertiliser from organic waste
- How to generate biogas as a source of cheap renewable energy for home use
- How to garden in a soilless environment using hydroponics technology
DCSARC is an organic certified farm and an active research centre that has multiple ongoing research projects in the field of organic gardening, ecosystem services and soil science.
Dilmah Conservation hopes to introduce innovative and sustainable interventions in agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing practices and secure sustainable livelihood options in the East with the opening of MJF Centre for Dignified Empowerment & Sustainable Development East on 1st September 2018.
DCSARC is open for public visits on all Wednesdays. Special educational programmes are conducted for groups on other days upon request.
Please contact the Dilmah Conservation office if you would like to schedule a visit to DCSARC (located adjoining the K Zone shopping complex in Moratuwa)
- Maintaining a model home garden designed in a manner that is mindful of the restrictions in resource availability and is able to produce safe-to-eat food for urban communities.
- Carrying out research on innovative agricultural methods using waste and organic inputs, which can be adopted by urban communities.
- Disseminating knowledge generated through research to a wider audience that will practice home gardening.
- Create an exchange of Ideas by facilitating dialogue about best practices and technology
- Co-operate with the MJF foundation to serve as a therapeutic and productive outlet for special needs children
- An experiment to ascertain the effect of growing cabbage and cauliflower in limited soil conditions was completed at the DCSARC in October 2018. The study aimed to identify the feasibility of growing these crops in pots and other limited spaces for individuals without access to extensive outdoor land areas. For the study outline and results click here.
- Eggplants are generally removed after one year because after this point they are not able to generate sufficient yields. An experiment was completed at the DCSARC in September 2018 to understand the ability of different pruning treatments to extend the productive lifespan of eggplants. For the study outline and results click here.
- On Sunday the 30th of September, at an event organised by Citizen Development Bank’s (CDB), employees of CDB and their families visited Dilmah Conservation’s Sustainable Agricultural Research Centre (DCSARC). The event was held to promote sustainable agricultural practices within the home, educate individuals on the uses of medicinal plants and to expose CDB’s employees’ children to the value of nature and traditional Sri Lankan heritage.
- On the 8th of August 2018 an educational workshop was conducted for students from the University of Visual and Performing Arts.
- A workshop on field work and project planning was conducted for the ‘Parisara Niyamu’ students on the 10th of August 2018.
- Between 200 and 300 individuals, including women’s development program members, schoolchildren, and differently abled people visit DCSARC monthly to learn about sustainable organic agriculture.
- Current research projects at the centre are studying...
- The relative effectiveness of several organic fertilizers
- Mixed cropping techniques that increase fruit and vegetable yield
- Natural traditional pest control
- How upcycled plastic pots can keep out weeds and increase cabbage yields
- Using stem cutting (centering) at different heights to increase eventual yield of bell-peppers
- The viability of growing plants in a thin layer of organic matter put over a plastic sheet
- In 2018 DCSARC was included to the list of ‘Parisara Niyamu’ sites where children can earn ‘environmental pioneer badges’. Parisara Niyamu is a program for schoolchildren, conceived by the CEA (Central Environmental Authority)
- A Biogas digester was installed at DCSARC in June 2018. All kitchen gas within the centre is now supplied by this digestor and generated from food waste.
- As part of DCSARC’s commitment to spreading awareness on the importance of ecosystem services for sustainable agriculture, a free publication on solitary bees was released.It was written by Thilina Hettiarachchi and is titled ‘Make a Solitary Bee Hotel’. A display model of a solitary bee hotel can be seen at the centre.
- Plant production at the DCSARC nursery is being expanded to allow plant distribution to visitors.
- Volunteer and gardening programmes are currently in place at the centre for the general public and children with disabilities at the Rainbow Centre.