© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

Occupations Food Production Market Small Business Building Other Occupations

Chena (Growing Vegetables)

Vegetables are an important ingredient of Sri Lankan curries that are eaten with the staple, rice. Thus there is a ready market for vegetables and fruits.

Chena cultivation is often small scale with a family supplying at least some of their own needs and perhaps exchanging or selling any surplus to neighbours. Water supply is a problem in many areas particularly in the dry zone of Hanbantota District so it may only be an occupation during the rainy seasons.

A Chena plot on the edge of the family paddy field, especially between  the rice growing seasons. Typical crops grown are e.g. a type of spicey spinach, mung beans, tomatoes, onions, leeks, pumpkins, melons, bananas and guavas.

Kurakhan - a traditional tasty and healthy grain that grows in drier areas. Here it is being dried in front of the family house next to their chena. (Hambantota District)

Drying the tobacco crop in Katuwana District. Tobacco is frequently used when chewing bulat/betel. This is a traditional practice all over Sri Lanka and much of Asia.

Selling a surplus of pumpkin door-to-door to neighbours

Preparing vegetables  for market - irrigation channel is useful for washing off the mud!

Chena cultivation is hard work and family members or neighbours may well work together to clear and tend plots and crops. This is a 5-Group of a Janashakthi Bank Society members working in their plots. They work together and share the crops and profits.

(See Section on Janashakthi Bank Society.)

Harvesting Pomegranates