Only 1.7-pct of Sri Lanka’s farming population has formal training: Survey

ECONOMYNEXT – Among Sri Lanka’s population engaged in farming, only 1.7 percent had reported they had received formal training in their occupation, a survey has found.

A majority had said their training was less than one month.

A survey by Sri Lanka’s statistics office in 2016/2017 found 2.1 million households or about 40 percent of the total was engaged in agricultural or livestock farming. Sri Lanka had an estimated population of 21 million in 2017.

Of the 8.1 million persons in the households, 6.4 percent were above 15 years of age.

About 2.1 million were defined as agricultural operators, who were decision-makers in farming. Many members of the farming households were engaged in non-farming activities.

During the 2016/2017 survey period, 26 percent of the households reported they had received information from several sources while 73 percent did not report any source of information.

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The government was the main sources of information, reported by 55 percent of the participants, farmer associations were reported as a source of information by 15 percent, other farmers 13 percent, private sector 10 percent, non-government organizations 2 percent and electronic media 2 percent.

The famers received information on fertilizer use, new seeds, pest control, general animal care among others.

In the West, especially in countries which trade freely in agricultural products, farmers send their children to agricultural college and also to learn business management.

Sri Lanka also expropriated large farming lands from the people, which were owned freehold, after the domestic political class got control of a law-making parliament set up by European colonial rulers, preventing the build of large commercial farms, except in areas such as coconut, which had developed before independence.

Freehold had developed in Sri Lanka during colonial rule.

Only in information technology, where there was no government regulation, private software schools offered started affiliated courses, and software is now a key export. </p?>

However there are now attempts by the state to regulate them as well, which may restrict access.

Among those engaged in agriculture, 3 percent had degrees, 12 percent had passed GCE A/L and 17 percent had passed 0/L.

About 46 percent had received an education of between grade 06 and 10.

About 19 percent had been educated up to grade 06 and 4 percent had no schooling at all. (Colombo/Dec09/2019)