Realizing long term sustainability requires a better balance between anthropogenic and natural ecosystem needs. In Sri Lanka the traditional systems of production have been linked to seasonal fluctuations and natural cycles. Farmers through Pre-history have been involved in managing water catchments and managing the quality of local water supplies. This was linked to religion and social structure which maintained a balanced approach to resource management.
Present day production is very different with high input fertilizers being promoted by the government and big business and monoculture cropping systems being sold as the best method for production.
This modern intensive approach has been unsuccessful in number of ways, primarily farmers and farm families in Sri Lanka are getting sick non communicable disease such as chronic renal faliure is a common affliction. In addition the very poor small farmer have no hope of escaping the debt cycle of expensive cropping systems that they have been introduced.
A movement towards more sustainable farming such as organic agriculture, bio-dynamic farming and tree cropping is on the increase. Rainforest Rescue International is working with partner Oxfam Italy to study the most appropriate approach that Farmers may take. This has resulted in the formation of a Toxin free producer network of Farmers in the North of Sri Lanka being formed in 2013. These farmers value add and improve farm gate prices by connecting with external traders for specialized local products.
Sustainable solutions such as these can provide opportunities for the balance between human need and ecosystem need.