Smallholder Rubber Farming based Agro-tourism: Potential, Attitude and Challenges in Sri Lanka-A Case Study in Moneragala District
This study was carried out to assess the possibilities of the Rubber Farming based Agro-Tourism (RFAT) in the smallholder rubber sector in Moneregala. The study covered 222 rubber smallholdings in eight rubber growing DS divisions and was conducted in 2019 through a questionnaire survey and focus group discussions. Stratified random sampling technique was applied. Rubber Agro-tourism Potential Index (RAPI) was developed to measure the resource availability in rubber smallholdings. The 18 potential rubber farming practices which could be offered to a tourist were identified. The younger Rubber Smallholders (RSs) were more aware of the agro-tourism. Young, educated and experienced RSs had a highly positive attitude for RFAT. Comparatively, more positive impacts of RFAT were highlighted by RSs. Lack of practical exposure to RFAT and low level of different language skills were identified as major constraints by the RSs. Badalkumbura DS division was the most potential resourceful area for development of RFAT in Moneragala. Hence, there is an utmost need to work for uplifting the RFAT industry from governmental, non-governmental, private and community sectors. There is a felt necessity to implement awareness programmes, training and
workshops, especially for RSs and small-scale tourism business entrepreneurs to uplift the RFAT industry through forming the relevant organizations. This information will be provided with an immense value for policy makers, researchers, extension planners to make the RFAT industry a profitable, socially acceptable and an environmentally friendly approach for the betterment of the nation.
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