Transformational Adaptation in Agriculture under Climate Change: A Case Study in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka

Lal Mervin Dharmasiri(1*), Mangala Jayarathne(2)

(1) Senior Professor and Carder Chair, Department of Geography, University of Kelaniya
(2) Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Kelaniya
(*) Corresponding Author


Transformational adaptation defines as 'changes the fundamental attributes of a system in response to climate and its effects.' Farmers deal with the natural environment and its components such as rainfall, temperature, humidity, and soil condition, which have a high range of variability and uncertainty for their cultivation. The present study focused on the impacts of climate change on the settler community who engage in agriculture as their mainstay and respond to the scenario. Quantitative and qualitative methods have been applied. Twenty samples from a village in the NCP have been selected. Primary outcomes of this study are (a) total awareness of perceptions on climate change; (b) the ambient temperature has been increasing and resulting in more heat stress; (c) frequent and severe occurrence of extreme rainfall anomalies and increasing trend of natural calamities. The area farmers have been adopting several strategies to overcome the negative impacts of climate change, such as transforming from intensification to more intensification that can be identified as Climate Smart Agriculture; crop diversification and adaptation of drought tolerance crops; transforming from agriculture to animal husbandry, and out-migration of unemployed or evicted youth from agriculture to non-agriculture. Institutional involvement is essential to strengthening the adaptative strategies of the people by providing an appropriate crop calendar and suitable crop combination and aware of the way of improving the use of the efficiency of available water for improving the living standard of the people.


Transformational adaptation; Climate change; Climate Smart Agriculture

Full Text:



Adhikari A, Shah R, Baral S, Khanal R. (2011). Terminologies Used in Climate Change. 124 p.

Battisti DS, Naylor RL. (2009). Historical warnings of future food insecurity with unprecedented seasonal heat. Science (80). 323(5911):240–4.

Brooks N. (2017). Transformational Adaptation : Concepts , Examples , and their Relevance to Agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Bruce CM, Thornton P, Zougmore R, Asten PV and Lippe L (2014). Sustainable intensification: What is its role in climate smart agriculture?. Available from: DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2014.07.002

Chithranayana RD, Punyawardena BVR. (2014).Adaptation to the vulnerability of paddy cultivation to climate change based on seasonal rainfall characteristics. J Natl Sci Found Sri Lanka.;42(2):119–27.

De Costa WAJM. (2008). Climate change in Sri Lanka: Myth or reality? Evidence from long-term meteorological data. J Natl Sci Found Sri Lanka.;36(Special Issue):63–88.

De Silva CS, Weatherhead EK, Knox JW and Rodriguez-Diaz J A, (2007). Predicting the impacts of climate change - A case study of paddy irrigation water requirements in Sri Lanka. Agricultural Water Management, 93. 19-29. DOI:

Dempewolf H, Eastwood RJ, Guarino L, Khoury CK, Müller J V., Toll J.(2014). Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: A Global Initiative to Collect, Conserve, and Use Crop Wild Relatives. Agroecol Sustain Food Syst.;38(4):369–77.

Dharmasiri, RKLM, (2013). Crop Diversification for Sustainable Agriculture: A Case Study from the Mahlaweli Development Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute. Colombo; 12 (01): 53-68

Esham M, Garforth C. (2013).Climate change and agricultural adaptation in Sri Lanka: A review. Clim Dev.;5(1):66–76.

Fernando TK, (2000). Impact of climate change on paddy production in Sri Lanka. Global Environmental Research, 2. 169-176

Gori A, Brito CB and Ruiz J, (2018). Climate change and agriculture: Do environmental preservation and ecosystem services matter?, Ecol. Econ. 52:27–39. Retrieved from

Guarino L, Lobell DB. (2011). A walk on the wild side. Nat Clim Chang [Internet].;1(8):374–5. Available from:

Gunasena HPM, Gunathilake HAJ, Everard JMDT, Ranasinghe CS, and Nainanayake AD, Proceedings of the International Conference on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation.

Gunawardhana AP and Dharmasiri LM, (2015). Drought and Adaptation Strategies of the People in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

IPCC. Climate Change (2001). Synthesis Report. IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR). Ipcc [Internet]. 2001;409. Available from:

Jayawardene H, Sonnadara D, Jayewardene D. (2005). Trends of Rainfall in Sri Lanka over the Last Century. Sri Lankan J Phys.;6(0):7.

Krishnan P, Ramakrishnan B, Reddy KR, Reddy VR. (2011). High-Temperature Effects on Rice Growth, Yield, and Grain Quality [Internet]. 1st ed. Vol. 111, Advances in Agronomy. Elsevier Inc.;. 87–206 p. Available from:

Lemos MC, and Hulme M, (Ed.) (2018). Transformational adaptation of agricultural systems to climate change. Retrieved from:

Malicki Zorom, Bruno Barbier, Ole Mertz and Eric Servat, (2013). Diversification and adaptation strategies to climate variability: A farm typology for the Sahel., Agricultural Systems 116:7–15, DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2012.11.004

Marambe B, Pushpakumara G, Weerahewa J, Punyawardane (2013). Climate change and household food security in homegardens of Sri Lanka. Proc Int Conf Clim Chang Impacts Adapt Food Environ Secur.;(DECEMBER):87–100.

Menike LMCS, and Arachchi KAGPK, (2016). Adaptation to Climate Change by Smallholder Farmers in Rural Communities: Evidence from Sri Lanka, Procedia Food Science, Volume 6, 2016, Pages 288-292, ISSN 2211-601X,

Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. (2016). Climate Change Secretariat, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment [Internet]. Available from: NAP/National Reports/National Adaptation Plan of Sri Lanka.pdf

Moser SC, Ekstrom JA. (2010). A framework to diagnose barriers to climate change adaptation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.;107(51):22026–31.

Noman and Schmitz (2011). Impact of Climate Change Awareness on Climate Change Adaptions and Climate Change Adaptation Issues,

Panabokke CR, Punyawardena BVR. (2010). Climate change and rain-fed agriculture in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Proc Natl Conf water, food Secur Clim Chang Sri Lanka [Internet];Volume 2:141–6. Available from:

Rickards L, Howden SM. (2012). Transformational adaptation: Agriculture and climate change. Crop Pasture Sci.;63(3):240–50.

Seo SN, Mendelsohn.( 2008). R. A structural ricardian analysis of climate change impacts and adaptations in African agriculture. World Bank Policy Res Work Pap.;38(4603):151–65.

Sönke K, Eckstein D, Dorsch L, Fischer L. (2020). Global climate risk index 2020 [Internet]. 1–28 p. Available from:

Wijeratne MA, (1996). Vulnerability of Sri Lanka tea production to global climate change. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 92. 87-94. DOI: 10.1007/BF00175555

Yilma Z, Haile A, and Bleich EG, (2019). Effects of climate change on livestock production and livelihood of pastoralists in selected pastoral areas of Borana, Ethiopia, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Sub Regional Office for Eastern Africa (FAO/SFE), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Zakeer Ahmed Khan and Allah Nawaz, (2000).Impact of Climate Change Awareness on Climate Change Adaptions and Climate Change Adaptation Issues, Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Research,36(3), DOI: 10.17582/journal.pjar/2020/33.3.619.636


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 2876 | views : 1500


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Lal Mervin Dharmasiri

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Accredited Journal, Based on Decree of the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education, Republic of Indonesia Number 225/E/KPT/2022, Vol 54 No 1 the Year 2022 - Vol 58 No 2 the Year 2026 (accreditation certificate download)

ISSN 2354-9114 (online), ISSN 0024-9521 (print)