Seeds for Sri Lanka
Up until this point, relief efforts to tsunami victims and survivors
have focused on immediate needs for potable water, emergency food
supplies, and human health. Those needs will gradually diminish,
but long-term needs for the surviving population to feed itself
Vegetable production in home gardens, community gardens, and refugee
camps can generate additional income, diversify diet, and help to
ensure food supply in a sustainable way by involving the victims
in their own recovery. Fast-growing green vegetables can supply
micronutrients much faster than slower growing grain crops.
Retired professor of agriculture, Jim Burleigh is part of The
World Vegetable Center-Taiwan and International Development Enterprises
project to supply 50,000 vegetable production kits to victims and
survivors of the tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
These kits will include (1) seed of fast-growing leafy vegetables
(pak-choi and kangkong) to provide nutrition in 30–35 days
from planting, (2) liquid fertilizer to be administered via micro-irrigation,
(3) a hoe, (4) a visually-orientated instruction booklet in the
local language that describes cultivation practices to follow for
each vegetable species and details to set up and use the irrigation
system, and (5) a micro-irrigation system.
In addition, kits will contain seed of later maturing vegetables
(tomato, eggplant, cucumber, water melon, kale, edible rape, yard-long
bean, cabbage, yellow wax hot pepper, butternut squash) to enhance
diversity in the diet and improve nutrition as they mature. The
exact quantities of these species will depend on donations from
Burleigh will depart to Sri Lanka in March, if the Asian Vegetable
Research and Development Center (AVRDC) receives funding from USAID.
He will be in Sri Lanka for about a month, through one leafy vegetable
cropping sequence. That would provide enough time to document how
the program is working.
Burleigh, whose degree is in plant pathology, came to CSU, Chico
in 1971, after having worked for the US Department of Agricul-ture
at Kansas State University for seven years. He retired from CSU,
Chico in 1998. During the time he was at Chico, he had exchanges
with several other universities where he headed agriculture-related
projects in Morocco for seven years with the University of Minnesota,
in Rwanda for two years with the University of Arkansas, and in
Sri Lanka for two and a half years with Oregon State University.
Immediately upon retirement from CSU, Chico, he went to the Philippines
with AVRDC. He finished his work with them in December 2003.
Note for those who would like to contribute to this project: The
Ministry of Agriculture-Taiwan has donated $200,000, and the German
government $39,000. A proposal was submitted to USAID for additional
funding. Contributions are welcome and can be sent to AVRDC- The
World Vegtable Cen-ter, P.O. Box 42, 60, Yi-Min Liao, Shanhua, Tainan,
Taiwan, ROC 74151. Tel: 886-6-583-7801. Dr. F. Markus Kaiser (ext.
130) is the individual in charge of the effort.