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Simple sustainable rural village life in Sri Lanka

Cascade - Helmalu farming in upcountry of sri lanka

Agricultural Villages

Sri Lankan traditional economy was based on agriculture which marked the rural people of the country. It consisted mostly of rice-growing peasantry. Apart from rice-growing, there were various craftsmen such as metal workers, potter makers and service personal such as washer-men and load-carriers.

Exchange Economy

Sri Lankan people engaged in chena cultivation which cultivated annually and produced almost everything they wanted for their consumption. When a villager  was in need of a consumer item, he or she obtained it from another one by exchanging a consumer item with  him or her. The exchange economy system was changed into the money economy system in the colonial era. The cultivation of commercial crops like tea, rubber, coconut and cinnamon was introduced in the face of other traditional crops (Pannilage Upali, 2016).

Nuclear families

In the traditional Sri Lankan society, the family system was an extended one where the children lived with their parents and their grandparents. Roles and responsibilities of each member of the family were socially allocated and shared by the members of the family. The family acted as main system with responsibilities on the production, reproduction and care. Since the production system was mainly depending on subsistence agriculture, required labor for agricultural work was supplied by the family itself. (Yalman 1967: 106)

Traditional tools in Agriculture

There was no or very limited use of machineries in the agricultural activities as the cultivation was mainly done with primitive technologies. As “whole production system was based on the agriculture, land became major property in the family which was shared and protected within the family system” (Yalman 1967: 97-98). The ownership of the land was transferred from generation to generation.

Wewa, Dagaba, Gama, Pansala Concept – Tank Temple, Village

Sri Lankan rural sustainable lifestyle has been based on three components.

  • Village
  • Tank/ Forest and
  • Temple

Some Photographs featuring agricultural village in Sri Lanka


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