Contribution of Wild Collected Underutilised Crops in Rural Food and Income Security in Sri Lanka

A. Bandula, A. De Silva, P. Oreiley, A.S. Karunarathne


This study focused on investigation of role of wild collected underutilised crops (UC)
in rural food and income security with special concern to the availability of those crops at
respective village markets. It analysed the availability of wild collected products in the selling
stocks of traditional sellers in respective village markets. Wellawaya Divisional Secretariat
Division in Moneragala district in Uva Province of Sri Lanka was seleted for the study. Rapid
market chain analysis was the principal tool equipped for this investigation. Data collection
was conducted by using primary data collection methods mostly under uncontrolled
environments. Number of key informant interviews with upstream agents, focus group
discussions with collectors and informal discussions with few sellers were done. In addition,
a few telephone interviews were conducted with key agricultural actors in the area.

Galsiyabala, Palu, Weera, Polpala, Binkohoba, Kithual products and curry leaves
(Karapincha) were the key wild collections available in the markets. However, the
contribution from the forest varied from around (40% to 100%). In general, males engage in
wild collection by making significant damages to those trees due to falling of trees and
cutting main branches. Reasonable proactive strategies are not yet adapted to ensure
sustainable utilisation of wild resources rather than penalties by courts when collectors are
captured by Forest Department officers. People practice this as a souces of part-time seasonal
income. Though income is seasonal, they receive higher values by selling some traditional
medicinal products under informal fixed prices. The price of all other products is determined
by traders where collectors have minimum bargaining power in this context.

Keywords: Underutilised crops, Wild collections, Rural households, Food security, Income

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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura