Common Agricultural Practices and Post-Harvest Losses in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, the post-harvest losses of harvested crop yield has become a national issue in terms of food security and nutrition. Different types of losses occurred during the storage of various crops are frequently reported throughout the country. Despite the awareness on increased post-harvest losses in warm environmental conditions and geographical-area-based crop losses, recent information on such post-harvest losses of crops grown in different regions of Sri Lanka is not available. Therefore, this study assessed the crop cultivation practices, main crops grown and their post-harvest losses in two different areas adopt traditional farming (Mahadiwulwewa) and urbanised agriculture (Nilaweli) in Trincomalee district of Sri Lanka. Data were collected from farmer families using a questionnaire. The main crop cultivated in both Mahadiwulwewa than Nilaveli is paddy. However, farmers in Nilaveli extend their cultivation to field crops, vegetables and fruits tobacco. In both Mahadiulwewa and Nilaveli, the majority of farmers engaged in farming between 50-59 years of age. Paddy occupied 73% of the total cultivated area in Nilaveli and 100% in Mahadiwulwewa. The average yield and use of machineries differed with the crop. Storage duration of paddy was 3-6 months. For storage of paddy, mostly farmers use jute sack and gunny bags. Post-harvest losses occurred during storage and insect infestation is also discussed. The information on numerous agricultural practices in the selected areas would help to improve the existing practices and minimise the losses targeting better agricultural productivity in Trincomalee district in the future.
Keywords: farming practices, paddy, other crops, storage losses, insects
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