By: I. A. J. K. Dissanayake
A farmer interview (n=251) was conducted in five Sesame growing districts in dry regions of Sri Lanka (Anuradhapura, Ampara, Hambanthota, Mannar, and Puttalam) to identify the agronomic aspects of Sesame cultivation. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect data and the Index of Qualitative Variation (IQV) was calculated to describe and compare the variation within and among the distributions of nominal variables. Results showed that Sesame was mainly grown in Yala season (March to August) of Sri Lanka as a secondary crop to maintain the agricultural lands for primary crops grown during Maha season (November to February). Many farmers were not aware on the Sesame cultivars developed by the Department of Agriculture and had received limited advice on cultivation practices. White seeded Sesame was mainly grown in Hambanthota (South Eastern) while black seeded Sesame was more common in Puttalam and Mannar districts (North Western) of Sri Lanka. Farmer’s selection of Sesame variety was mainly based on the availability of seeds. Sesame was mainly cultivated in small scale (<5 ha) in all the study areas and the production was less than 1t/ha. Application of fertilizer or insecticides during crop growth was rarely recorded and weedicides were often used only during land preparation. Sesame is currently an underutilized crop grown in marginal lands utilizing minimum human resources and agrochemical inputs. High potential for expansion of Sesame cultivation in Sri Lanka on degraded dry lands as ‘organic by default’ was exhibited with dedication of farmers engaged in small scale crop cultivation in the dry zone of Sri Lanka.
I. A. J. K. Dissanayake, S. M. W. Ranwala, S. S. N. Perera
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Department of Mathematics, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Key words: Sesame/Gingelly, Sesamum indicum, Sesame cultivation, Sesame cultivars, Farmer survey.