The research history of Mahailluppallama dates back to the year 1903 in which field experiments were initiated aiming to identify suitable economic crops for dry zone rain fed conditions. Cotton, Sisal, Tobacco and Groundnut were given more emphasis, however remoteness and other difficulties led to close down the station in 1919. Research Programmes were then operated at Vavuniya and Anuradhapura (1926), Kurundakulama (1938), Relapanawa, Olukaranda and Makalanagama(1949).
In 1950 a fully equipped research station was established at Mahailluppallama and many research findings have been reported since then. The station was renamed as Field Crops Research and Development Institute in 1994 and entrusted the responsibility of conducting research programs on field crops.
The institute is located at Mahailluppallama 35 km south of Anuradhapura in the North Central Province in the low country (138 m above MSL) dry zone (DL). The average annual rainfall is 1000-1500 mm and the temperature is around 27ºC throughout the year. The soils are Reddish Brown Earths (RBE) in upper slopes associated with Low Humic Gley (LHG) in valley bottoms.
To achieve national prosperity through excellence in feild crop production
To achieve economic revitalization of the farmers in the field crops sector and to assure national food security through generation and facilitating the dissemination of technology necessary for priority field crops to cater for sustainable field crops production in Sri Lanka.
- Development of improved varieties of high yielding improved varieties of other field crops, dry zone vegetables and fruits suitable for irrigated and rainfed conditions with pest, disease and drought resistance quality.
- Development of plant protection strategies to minimize crop losses due to pest and diseases
- Development of improved agronomic practices to reduce the cost of production, to increase the productivity of agricultural lands and crops.
- Testing the adaptability of new improved varieties and technologies.
- Developing improved soil and water conservation methods and soil fertility management practices.
To conduct research and development programs on field crops aiming at developing new technology, and facilitating the technology dissemination for enhancement of production and productivity in the field crop sector. Field crops include condiments (chilli and onions), grain legumes (mungbean, cowpea, blackgram, pigeon pea and chickpea), oil seed crops (groundnut, soybean, sesame and sunflower) and non-rice cereals (maize, sorghum, finger millet and other minor millets).
At regional level responsibility extends to crops such as fruits, vegetables, rice etc. to deal with problems specific to the region. Programs are conducted under various disciplines such as crop improvement, agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, weed science, cropping systems, soil and water management, horticulture and technology adoption research (economics, adaptive research, participatory research etc.).
Goals given below are common to both institutes.
- Technology innovation on varietal improvement
- Technology development on plant protection
- Sustainable field crops production through proper soil and water management and enhanced soil fertility.
- Development of agronomic practices for successful crop production under irrigated and rainfed conditions
- Energy saving farm machinery, post harvest processing techniques development to facilitate the crop production
- Facilitation of extensive adoption of the technological innovations originated from the Field Crops Research & Develpment Institute by creating strong linkage between reseacg & extension staff towards achievement of the mission of FCRDI.