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Research Output And Farmers Adoption Of Technologies On Coconut Based Farming Systems : The Sri Lankan Experience

Research spanning, three decades I960 - 1970 and then from 1980 to-date at the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka has established the agronomic feasibility and economic viability of a multiplicity of coconut-based farming systems (CBFS). In the first decade I960 - 1970, the potential for pasture production and cattle rearing in coconut had been established. However, unattractive farm gate price of milk had diminished interest in cattle rearing, but there is now growing interest in goat farming In the last two decades greater emphasis has been on intercropping. A range of perennial, semi perennial and seasonal crops that can be intercropped and the complementarity of some of them with coconut have been well documented. However, adoption of the generated technologies has been on the whole poor in that, less than 20% of the farmers have adopted any CBFS technology. Fven where adopted, the intensity and size of intercropping/animal production operations have been small. Studies have shown that adoption of CBFS is influenced by household income (capital) and intensity of extension contacts and quality, and accessibility to credit. Absentee landlordism, poor on- farm management, and the fact that coconut is often not the main source of income of such landowners are fiirther reasons of poor adoption of CBFS. There is evidence that more professional extension delivery, access to credit and improved on-farm management can improve adoption of CBFS. For small coconut farms in particular, there is a need for a new vision to increase farm incomes, and that is to treat coconut as one component of a multiple production system. National policies, programs and assistance schemes should be geared towards that vision.

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