Betel uses in Sri Lanka as a cultural symbol, medicine and aliment. As well as it betel farming can be identified as a successful small and middle level Economic Activity in North Central area in Sri Lanka. Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities (FSLGA) has implemented a Betel distribution program for selected village areas in Thamankaduwa Locality in May 2016, under the project of Local Economic Development (LED).
Particularly Betel can be successfully planted in wet-dry zone and it requires well-drained fertile soil. Waterlogged, saline and alkali soils are unsuitable for its cultivation. Betel leaf is mostly cultivated in North Central, Central and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka. Further, proper shade and irrigation are essential for the successful cultivation of this crop. Betel needs constantly moist soil, but there should not be excessive moisture. Irrigation is frequent and light and standing water should not remain for more than half an hour.
According to the recommendations of Agricultural department, Betel plantation is applicable with environmental factors during January to July in Polonnaruwa. In the season of April, farmers can earn approximately 5 Rupees from a leaf of betel. They can pluck about 8 – 10 leaves of betel by each fertile vine per week.
When discussing with community members in Thamankaduwa Locality, FSLGA could identify that there are good local economic advantages in Betel, Pepper and Ginger plantations. Particularly, Betel was highlighted as a potential Local Economic activity. Already some people were engaged with small scale Betel farms in Laksha Uyana village in Polonnaruwa. It is a remote rural area in Thamankaduwa locality, colonized by number of farmers who cultivate betel, Guava, chilly and vegetables etc. This location was recommended by Agricultural Instructor to FSLGA and given the contribution.
FSLGA identified forty (40) families as beneficiaries of the project and trained them with technical Instructions about how to establish a successful betel farm and how to germinate. Agricultural technician was given two weeks to prepare plots according to technical methods. FSLGA funded for Tissue cultured betel plants and distributed them on 07th May 2016. Each selected family was received about 15-20 plants.
Hon. Nalaka Kolonna (Member of Sri Lanka Parliament), Hon. Asela Sirisena and Mr. Anura Wijesiri (Coordinating Secretary to HE President) were participated and bestowed betel plants to people.