Transformation of Traditional Silvo-Pastoral Home-Gardens: A Case Study in Southern Sri Lanka

Mangala De Zoysa


The Pasture Development Program on silvo-pastoral system in traditional home-gardens in Matara district was commenced with the aim of increasing milk production and income of the small-scale cattle farmers. The objectives of the study were to analyze ecosystem changes, economic trade-offs and social breakthroughs taken place in home-gardens after the program, with the aim of expanding the program coverage. The study was conducted through a field survey interviewing 34 farmers randomly selected from the participants. Tthe farmers have changed the composition of eco-systems in their home-gardens, replaced traditional grasses with CO3 fodder, and removed number of trees disturbing fodder cultivation. They have significantly lost some traditionally cultivated crops and trees due to competition with fodder during dry seasons. The farmers have significantly increased the milk yield per cow, market surplus and income, increased the amount of fodder sufficient to feed their cattle and little market surplus, and gradually adapted to cow-done as organic fertilizer. The social breakthroughs are identified as: reduced risk of conflicts with neighbors and theft of cattle, controlled damages caused by cattle to agricultural crops, reduced time spent on feeding cattle during dry seasons, increased domestic milk consumption, and increased the number of milk collecting centers induced by increased milk production. Although the Pasture Development Program have transformed the traditional home-gardens to improved silvo-pastoral system, community governance yet to be developed in order attract externalities particularly land use planning, technology development and policy support. 

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Sustainable Agriculture Research   ISSN 1927-050X (Print)   ISSN 1927-0518 (Online)  E-mail:

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