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Coconut Based Farming Systems For Increasing Productivity And Profitability Of Smallholder Coconut Plantation In Sri Lanka

Coconut is commercially cultivated in Asia and Pacific countries predominantly as a small holder crop, which is associated with lives of  millions of  coconut growers. Income and productivity of  coconut directly affect on livelihood of  these people. Generally, coconut lands are maintained as monoculture farming and recognized as an inefficient land use system. Coconut palms are generally spaced 8 m x 8 m apart, thereby 75% of  the area remains below its production potential from  the age of  20 years or so. Unlike other crops such as tea, and rubber, opportunities to grow inter crops in coconut plantations are enormous. Coconut based farming systems (CBFS) are well established and attractive to maximize land use efficiency, increase productivity and to optimize profitability over to monoculture coconut farming. Hence, monoculture to crop diversification is a must for  income generation for  all levels of  coconut growers. Intercropping, multiple cropping, mixed cropping, alley cropping and mixed farm ing are the main systems in CBFS. Any one of  these intensive well designed farm ing systems under good management practices would not affected coconut yield. Many coconut + intercrops + animal systems have shown complimentary effects and benefits on coconut. Increase soil fertility, improvement of  coconut palm  nutrients, creation of  favourable micro-climate and increase productivity of  coconut lands are discussed in detail. Coconut lands offer ample opportunities to grow large number of  crops, rearing animals and combination of  those including agroforestry systems. In CBFS, differences within a country, region to region are observed. Hence, a common approach is important to promote CBFS as a viable farming  system to increase productivity of  coconut cultivation.

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