Value chain analysis of underutilized crops of different farming systems in Sri Lanka

T.M. Liyanagamage, D.A.M. De Silva, A.S. Karunaratne, P. O'Reilly, H. Nilmalgoda
Underutilized crops are the crops which have been forgotten and neglected in modern agricultural systems, but still traced in native farming systems, with insignificant production level or wild-collected. However, with modernization of agricultural systems, many are neglected and low esteemed and some are facing the threat of becoming lost crops. These crops are cultivable in wide range of agro-ecological zones, adoptable to adverse environmental conditions with limited resources. Underutilized crops were recognized as socially acceptable, environmentally friendly and economical to many farming systems. This study involved an in depth analysis of farming systems and related value chains of underutilized crops. Economic, social and environmental benefits were the major domain of consideration of this study. Specific objectives were identifying factors important in value chain management, key value chain actors and their roles, mechanisms of governance decision making and revenue distribution. In order to capture the diversification within the country, a survey with sample size of 750 was carried out in five different provinces. Purposive sampling technique was used to identify divisional secretariat by agro-ecological variation and was followed by randomization to identify GN divisions. Study revealed that products distribution in value chain was mainly based on informal relationships. Direct and persistent relationships between retailers and farmers were at an insignificant level. Involvement of both male and female heads of the farmer family, in farming activities were at a higher level regardless of the gender. Key decision maker in the farm families were male head of the household. Crop selection, financing and value addition of crops were done primarily by the male, where female head was given the priority in selecting and preparation of crops. Females noticeably showed a higher involvement in marketing of underutilized crops while males were involved in dealing with major commercial crops. Factors of consideration the decisions were reliant upon was market demand, price, climatic factors, cost of maintenance and labor availability. Dealers and traders were the key information sources for farmers to acquire information on inputs and product markets. Peer farmers were the second popular information source. Printed media, audio/visual media, governmental and non-governmental sources of information, were among the least popular sources. Results highlighted the unrecognized and underestimated role of underutilized crops in food, nutritional and income security of Sri Lankan farming systems.
Liyanagamage, T.M., De Silva, D.A.M., Karunaratne, A.S., O'Reilly, P. and Nilmalgoda, H. (2020). Value chain analysis of underutilized crops of different farming systems in Sri Lanka. Acta Hortic. 1278, 179-184
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1278.27
decision making, crop diversification, governance, wellbeing, income security

Acta Horticulturae