Sustainable Land Management: A Tool to trade-off the Production Cost in Tea Sector Sustainable Land Management: A Tool to trade-off the Production Cost in Tea Sector
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Escalation of production cost is a crucial factor, which drastically affects the production of tea smallholding sector in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is important to suggest sustainable land management and soil conservation as an effective mechanism for long-term trade-off of the production cost. Therefore, this study was conducted as an attempt to identify the perspective (awareness and adoption) of local tea landowners on the concept. Liker scale survey questionnaire based structured interviews were carried-out as the technique for primary data collection. A sample of 100 tea small holders was selected through purposive sampling technique. Awareness and adoption indices used to analyze the perception of farmers on land management principles and, they were found to be in moderate level. Moreover, their awareness was an induction for adoption (r: 0.681, pâ‰¤ 0.01).Pearson coefficient was computed to identify the socio-demographical factors behind their perspective on the concept. Results indicated that their awareness was vastly depending on age(r: 0.32, pâ‰¤0.001), income (r: 0.23, pâ‰¤0.02), and property size (r: 0.22, pâ‰¤0.03). Moreover, income (r: 0.27, pâ‰¤0.007) and property size (r: 0.27, pâ‰¤0.007) were significant factors for their adoption. In addition, farmersâ€™ knowledge on land degradation and the extent of encountered problems of land degradation were significant for both awareness and adoption. To make a better inference, cost of soil erosion in tea lands was computed by considering the fertility depletion under replacement cost approach. Increased cost for additional fertilizer considered as the major indicator of land degradation. Estimated cost of erosion in large (>0.81 ha/2 ac) and small (<0.81 ha/2 ac) scale tea lands were LKR62, 892 and 60,418 ha/annum respectively. The study revealed that tea farmers have positive perspective to contribute to sustainable land management and soil conservation. Hence, study suggested it as a good agricultural practice to trade-off of the additional production cost in tea lands.
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