Agiculture Education Unit
Agriculture Education Unit Faculty of Agriculture University of Peradeniya Peradeniya 22400 Sri Lanka
contact us
Improving Agriculture Education in Sri Lanka for sustainable Development


“Sustainable Tropical Agricultural Systems of Sri Lanka”

A 4-week long “Study Abroad” Program

 (Please refer to the pamphlet for the summary of the program)

“The Faculty of Agriculture of University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, a Centre of Excellence in Higher Education in Agriculture in South East Asia, is located in a quiet village nestling in the amphitheatre of hills dominated by the majestic “Hantana” mountain range. It is an inspiring site, typical of central Sri Lanka with its rushing boulder-strewn torrents, its highly molded hills and its varied foliage. The lordly “Mahaweli Ganga”, the River of Great Sands, the longest and most historic river on the island, winds her way sluggishly through it. Considered to be the most beautiful in the world, the Royal Botanic Garden is a rare gem amidst University land.”



With global populations increasing rapidly, one of the most important concerns facing human-kind is ensuring access to adequate and sustainable food resources and clean water. Tropical regions have the potential to contribute significantly to answering this concern. Tropical environments offer an all-year round growing climate for conventional agriculture, as well as allowing access to a new range of animal and plant industries.














Administrative building of the Faculty of Agriculture


The expanded effort to increase tropical food production has the following educational components:

  • to improve national, regional and international programs of agricultural training at all levels in tropical countries
  • to expand education in tropical agriculture.

The Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka has been instrumental in providing expertise for Sri Lanka’s contribution to the development of tropical agriculture for more than five-decades. To facilitate this process, the Faculty manages experimental and training farms located in all major agro-ecological regions of the country. Sri Lanka being a country in the tropical belt, the challenge faced by the Faculty and the country as a whole is to devise new ways to increase tropical agricultural production to feed a growing national and global population while conserving the natural resources and the environment.

In attempting to establish sustainable agricultural systems in the tropics, it has become necessary to include parameters other than yield and economic profitability in determining sustainability. In this process, identification of the economically relevant differences in biophysical conditions, analysis of their effects on productivity in agriculture and the whole economy, and prescription of appropriate responses through agricultural research and government policy become important in the dialogue/debate on sustainable agriculture.

The short course explores the potential to achieve sustainability goals of farmers and rural communities in a tropical region such as Sri Lanka, by providing an in-depth first hand experience. The participants would go through a well designed course on sustainable tropical agricultural systems, with a major focus on the key crop, livestock, environmental and social issues.

This interdisciplinary field-based training program is designed to participants for work in situations requiring knowledge of both the biological and social aspects of tropical agriculture by providing theory and field practice of agricultural techniques of the developing world in the tropics. An interdisciplinary approach has been followed and hence the curriculum combines specific knowledge of various scientific fields in order to adequately address the complex problems of agricultural development in the tropics. The group activities carried out with farmer families in the dry areas of Sri Lanka, the place considered as heart of Sri Lankan agriculture, will  provide an opportunity for the participants to develop critical problem-solving skills for complex global communities. Within a short time period, the short course provides participants with the knowledge of the science and practice involved in sustaining and enhancing the productivity of these complex systems, while preserving environmental integrity.

Caution:           This is not an offer for a summer vacation, but a field course with field-based learning. So, come prepared to work, to learn and to experience tropical agriculture.


Class schedule

The students arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport at “Day 0” of the program, met by the program staff, and transported to University of Peradeniya on the same day.

The students stay at the University Guest house “Gal Bangalawa” (the University Guest House).











Gal Bangalawa


The course starts at 8.00 am on the first Monday after the arrival of the participants  and ends at 5.00 pm on the Saturday of the fourth week. Students will have opportunities to explore Sri Lanka during free times. On some occasions, we will be traveling to and from sites during weekends.



Course credit:             Should be arranged by the participants with their host university

Grading:                      The course will be graded based on participation, attendance, written field observations, weekly exams, leading and participating in discussions, and a final paper and presentation. A breakdown of the points’ distribution will be provided on the first day of the class.


Week 1: Introduction to Tropical Agriculture

Objectives: Introduction to the course, introduction to tropical and Sri Lankan Agriculture (crop and animal husbandry)

Activities: Students will be introduced to faculty, staff, and UP students, and have an opportunity to visit the facilities at the university. The class will also visit a number of agricultural and related centers/institutes in the Peradeniya area including: the Agro-Technology Complex, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the livestock field station at Mawela, the Agricultural Biotechnology Centre, and the Horticultural Research and Development Institute.



















Tropical Agriculture


Note:   The students will reside at Gal Bangalawa until Sunday evening.
Sunday evening the students will be taken to the “Temple of the Tooth Relic”, the most venerated place of worship of the Buddhists of Sri Lanka


Week 2:          Plantation Agriculture in the tropics

Objective: Introduction to the tea plantation sector of Sri Lanka

Activities: The activities for week 2 will be held at the Tea Research Institute at Talawakelle to learn more about the world famous Ceylon Tea. The visit will be coupled with a visit to Horton Plains, a natural savannah ecosystem.

Note: Students will stay at the Guest house of the Tea Research Institute. On the weekend the students will have an opportunity for a day on one of the most scenic beaches in the world.
















Week 3:          Non-plantation Agriculture in the tropics

Objectives: Introduction to traditional agriculture of Sri Lanka and the scope of peasant agricultural systems. This will include integrated agriculture and field experience in traditional cropping systems.

Activities: This week will be a visit to the UP Mahailuppalama sub-campus (120 km north to Peradeniya). Students will interact with the undergraduate student community, farming community, and researchers from the Department of Agriculture.

On Monday morning we will travel to Mahailupallama and visit “Sigiriya”, the “Mount of Remembrance”. This week there will also be day trips to the Farm Machinery Training Centre and the Institute of Post-harvest Technology. On Sunday, there will be a visit to Historical sights at Anuradhapura.












Commercial Vegetable Cultivation


Note: Students will stay at the In-Service Training institute of the Department of Agriculture

Week 4:          Alternative Agriculture, and Final presentations

Objectives:      Service day, work on final paper and presentations, community/public presentation, and course evaluation

Activities: This week there will be visits toan Organic Farm and Spice gardens (the famous Kandyan Forest Gardens) in the Kandy/Peradeniya area.












Organic banana cultivation


Note:   * Students will stay at Gal Bangalawa


Cost of Program

Program fees              US $ 2250 (includes course tuition, lodging and excursion fees, and meals, excluding international airfare, passport, insurance and visa fees).

Expenses for a longer stay in Sri Lanka will have to be borne by the students.


Physical demands

The climate and topography of Sri Lanka will be challenging for many overseas students. The Peradeniya climate is mild; the Talawakelle clime is cold while in other areas it is warm and humid (32°C and 85% humidity). You will be exposed to different climatic scenarios within a short period of time. Beds with mosquito netting will be provided especially during your stay at Mahailuppallama. On weekends, the free days/times, we will have programs to re-fuel ourselves. However, we are keeping this option open for you to decide if you want to explore the country. If you need special medication, please contact the coordinator as soon as possible, definitely prior to your arrival.


Project Conditions

The Climate
(Information given below is the climate for the year in different regions of the country)

Climate features of the country are basically determined by the geographical location of the country in the equatorial belt and its position in the inter-tropical convergence zone. The chief determinants of the climate in Sri Lanka are rainfall and temperature. The mean temperature is 27.5°C over low lands. The oceanic influence helps to reduce temperature in the lowlands by sea breezes. The temperature decreases at a steady rate of about 6.5°C for each 1000 meters rise and in the montane region the mean monthly temperatures varies from 13°C to 16°C with the night temperature occasionally dropping to around zero. Diurnal variation of temperature is well marked and the range increases with altitude as well as with distance from sea. There is only a small variation in mean monthly temperatures experienced throughout the year in most parts of the country.

The relative humidity varies generally from about 70 per cent during the day to about 90 to 95 per cent at night. In the dry areas these values are lower by about 5 per cent.

The rainfall is of three types - monsoonal, convectional and depressional. The two monsoonal periods, the South west (May - September) and the North east (December - February) is responsible for major part of the annual precipitation. Local topography plays a major role in determining the rainfall distribution over the island. The South west monsoon provides rain mostly to south western quarter and the central high lands. The North east monsoon along with inter-monsoonal depressional activity in October/November is stronger and produces rain through out the island. The other inter-monsoonal period in March/April produces less rainfall. Based on the mean annual rain fall and its distribution, the country is classified into to three major climatic zones: Dry zone (1,250 mm - 1,525 mm), Intermediate zone (1,525 mm - 2,280 mm) and wet zone (2,280 mm - 5,100 mm). The dry zone experiences prolonged dry period from May to September with drought conditions prevailing from June to August. The presence of strong dry winds accentuates the harsh conditions during this period. Additionally the two areas in the North west and South east of the island receiving a mean annual rainfall of 890 mm - 1,250 mm and having a more prolonged and intense drought are classed as the arid zone.


You should purchase an air ticket to take you to Colombo, to arrive on or before July 2. There is one international airport in Sri Lanka. We will provide you transport from and to the airport, as well as during the program hours.

In your free days, the public transport is the cheapest to get to required destination. Three-wheelers (Tuk-Tuk in Thai Language) are the most frequently used mode of transport for short distances (do not forget to negotiate the charges before entering a three-wheeler). The latter mode of transport is, however, the most exciting.

Recommended Clothing/Gear

Use your best judgment having your best interest and comfort in mind. Travel light and bring a backpack. Be prepared for harsh weather conditions, wet and dry, and cold and warm. Have some clothing to wrap you up in cool nights. Bring a jacket to protect you from cold winds and mist in the up country. Do not forget to bring any medication that you require, and also a field note book. (Instructions will be provided)

Please make sure to see your doctor or visit a ravel clinic at least 6 weeks before your departure to Sri Lanka. Check to make sure that you have an up-to-date Tetanus Vaccine Booster, that you’ve adequately addressed anti-malarial if you choose to, and that you have any and all prescriptions that you’ll need in the summer.

Recommended Websites for Reading

Visit to know more about Sri Lanka
Visit to know more about the Faculty and our capacities

Copyright © 2011 INFOLAB , Faculty of Agriculture
University of Peradeniya|Faculty of Agriculture