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Field workshop for Sri Lankan onion farmers organised by KOPIA

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The Korea Program on International Agriculture (KOPIA) Sri Lanka Centre organised a field workshop for 100 selected farmers from the two model villages of Galenbindunuwewa and Bulnewa, where they visited a large scale commercial onion seed production farm in Galewela. This program was facilitated as part of KOPIA’s ongoing efforts to promote onion cultivation in Sri Lanka. 

Since 2015, the KOPIA Centre has been assisting with onion production in Sri Lanka, in cooperation with the Field Crops Research and Development Institute (FCRDI) of the Department of Agriculture (DOA) in Mahailluppallama. The project aims to improve onion productivity in Sri Lanka by using Korean agricultural technologies, so that Sri Lankan farmers can become more self-sufficient.

As part of these efforts, the KOPIA Sri Lanka centre has introduced the model village concept to Sri Lanka, focusing on promoting the production of onion seeds within the target area. Through this initiative, KOPIA primarily provides rain shelters, storages, drip irrigation units, mother bulb cultivation and mother bulb vernalisation facilities, agro-chemicals, etc., to the farmers of the model villages. In addition to this, capacity building measures are also introduced through knowledge transferring on appropriate technologies and providing training and exposure to the farmers. 

The 100 onion farmers who took part in the latest workshop are those who have already begun to engage in commercial onion seed production. Working with them, KOPIA had identified the necessity of extra exposure for these farmers so they could gain a deeper understanding of the many challenges encountered in commercial onion farming. The workshop/exposure visit took place at a farm in the Galewela area, the owner of which has over 30 years of experience in commercial crop production. 

The farm which consists of 25 ha in total has been cultivated with big onions for seed production in 06 ha, with the rest of the land being divided among eggplant, hot peppers and tomato cultivations. Among other things, the participants were able to gain firsthand knowledge during the workshop, on how to adapt new technologies on onion seed production in order to stimulate higher crop yields. 

During this visit, Dr. Choi, the Director of KOPIA Sri Lanka Centre and Dr. Lee, the Korean Expert on onion seed production at KOPIA also made a presentation on onion cultivation techniques, onion seed production technologies, and seedling management technologies for the benefit the participants. At the same time, the owner of the Galewela farm shared his work related experiences with the visiting group of farmers and pointed out the main points to bear in mind in onion seed production. 

Apart from such locally based programs, KOPIA will also facilitate an international exposure visit and training in Korea, for 10 selected farmers from the two model villages, together with two DOA researchers, in mid May 2018. 

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