Ampara District is known as the "rice bowl of the country" which produces 15% of the national paddy production.
Ampara is predominantly an agricultural area falls in the dry zone. It has nearly 135,000 ha of potentially cultivable land of which around 70,000 ha is under paddy cultivation. Paddy cultivation is the main livelihood of more than 45% of the working population of the District and a further 30% are indirectly involved in paddy cultivation and related activities. With the help of rain water, major irrigation facilities such as Senanayake Samudra and several other medium and minor tanks, Ampara farmers are able to cultivate paddy during both Maha and Yala seasons. Maha Season falls during “North-east monsoon” from September to March and Yala season is effective from May to end of August. Although paddy fields are scattered in several parts of the district, it is highly concentrated on the coastal line and adjacent divisions such as Panama, Pottuvil, Thirukovil, Akkaraipattu, Addalaichenai, Ninthavur, Sammanthurai and Navithanveli. Irakamam, Damana and Uhana are some other interior divisions popular for paddy cultivation.
The influence of machinery such as tractor, combined harvester etc., have pushed the farmers away from traditional cultivation and harvesting methods. However, in certain areas, farmers do continue their traditional methods of cultivation.
Majority of the farmers in Ampara cultivates "red samba" or "white samba" varieties which have a life cycle of 3.5 months. When the entire paddy field is cultivated and the plant becomes about one month old, it will look like green carpet everywhere! From Panama to Kalmunai, you can have a long drive on coastal line through the paddy fields on both sides. Viewing paddy fields in the early morning hours with the sun rise where farmers are busy in their paddy fields, would be breathtaking moments in your life.
If you can have a walk through the paddy fields or cycle through paddy fields it will definitely be more fun.