The Census of Agriculture 1982 was one of the largest operations in the field of Agricultural statistics involving collection of data in respect of 1.8 million small holdings and about 9300 estates throughout the island. The census information thus collected provides benchmark data on the structural characteristics of the agriculture sector. It also provides benchmark data for current agricultural statistics and sampling frames for future sample surveys.
The Census of Agriculture 1982 was one of the largest operations in the field of Production - 1921 was the first attempt that made to conduct a Census in the country followed by parcel Censuses in 1924 and 1929. These Censuses were limited to collect the information such as crop area, production and livestock numbers at village level. Subsequently, in 1946, 1952, 1962, 1973 and 1982, five Censuses had been conducted.
The data collected at the Census have been released over a period of time commencing from February 1983 with the release of some provisional results in respect of the small holding sector. This was followed by the report on Estate Sector for which data was collected through a mailed questionnaire. A report in respect of the small holding sector based on a ten percent sample tabulation was released in July 1984 to serve the immediate needs of the data users. It was followed by a series of District reports containing detailed information based on the complete tabulation of data in respect of the small holding sector.
Although the Census of Population was a regular decennial function since 1871, the Census of Agriculture had not been conducted in such a frequency. A census of Production, virtually Agricultural production was taken in 1921 and was followed by a partial censuses in 1924 and 1929. At these censuses. particulars of crop areas, livestock numbers, and production were recorded at village level.
In more recent times the Census of Agriculture had been conducted in 1946, 52, 62 and 73. At the '46 census, a plot-wise enumeration was undertaken of all blocks of land throughout the country, on which there existed at the time or had previously existed any kind of cultivation. This was the first comprehensive census of agriculture in Sri Lanka in recent times.
A deviation from this pattern of parcel-wise enumeration was first attempted at the 1952 census, but difficulties in completely enumerating the villages selected in the sample restricted the use of the census data on small holdings. The 1962 census, enumerated all holdings not less than 50 acres on a complete basis and a sample of 10 percent in the case of holdings less than 50 acres. In 1973 the larger holdings and all estates were completely enumerated for detailed information on the various characteristics and operations while a sample of small holdings were scientifically selected and enumerated.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
The basic unit of enumeration was in this census was the operational holding (as distinct from the ownership holding) which was defined as all land and/or livestock used wholly or partly for agriculture production irrespective of title size legal form or location and is operated under one operational status.
v1.0: Full edited dataset, for internal DPD use.
The scope of the Census of Agricultre 1982 includes:
Extent under different crops
The census of Agriculture was carried out primarily to meet the national needs whilst at the same time confirming to the requirements of the 1980 Census of Agriculture Program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The objectives were:
To collect basic data on agriculture regarding its infrastructure needed for formulation and implementation of agricultural programs.
To provide benchmark information against which progress of agricultural projects can be evaluated
To provide basic frames of households, agricultural households and holdings for conducting future surveys in the field of agriculture.
To lay a basis for developing a long term integrated program for current agriculture statistics.
agricultural, forestry and rural industry [2.1]
National Coverage Urban, Rural and Estate
The Census of Agriculture covered the entire island excluding the MC's of Colombo and Dehiwela-Mt. Lavinia which are predominantly residential and commercial areas where agricultural activity is insignificant.
The listing of holdings (other than estates) were carried out separately on a complete enumeration basis. Holdings were listed by house to house visit using the Census of Population frame. A list of estates were also prepared at the time of the population census which was updated to reflect the position in 1982.
Producers and sponsors
Agriculture and Environment Statistics Division
Department of Census and Statistics
Government of Sri Lanka
Source of funds
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
The entire census operation was directed from the Central office of the Department of Census and Statistics. The preparation of Census schedules and instructions, pre-testing the schedules, conducting pilot census, editing and coding of schedules and finally the tabulation and analysis were handled at the Central Office.
The Director of Census and Statistics (the Head of the Department) was appointed as the Superintendent of Census and was charged with the responsibility of conducting the census of Agriculture. He was assisted by a team of senior officials at the Head office and were gazetted as Asst. Superintendents of Census.
Government Agents were appointed as Commissioners of Census within their respective area of authority. They were assisted by the Assistant Commissioners of Census who were Asst Comm.'s of the Dept. of Agrarian Services attached to Districts and Dist. Statistical Officers. The post of Asst. Commissioner was a key position in the Census organization and the success of the whole census operation largely depended on their efficient functioning.
Each Asst Commissioner had a few census Supervisors who were divisional officers of the Dept. of Agrarian Services and range Statistical Investigators. A supervisor was responsible for the supervision of the Census arrangements and the work of the census enumerators within the area allocated to him which generally was a census circle comprising a number of Census blocks.
Census enumerators were in most cases cultivation officers. Where the posts of cultivation officers were vacant or the work-load of the cultivation officers were heavy, special service officers were appointed as census enumerators.
Data Collection Notes
There are roughly 1.8 million schedules and the data of which are taken into eight records of 80 bytes each resulting in 14.4 million individual records. To obtain a quick result a ten percent sample had been processed,. 100% processing was done thereafter by taking the 90% district files and merging the ten percent with that.
Department of Census and Statistics
Ministry of Finance and Planning
Census of Agriculture 82 was carried out in two phases:
a. The Peasant or Small Holding Sector
b. The Estate or the Large Holding Sector
An Agriculture holding having at least one parcel of 20 acres in extent or more and under the same unit of management was considered as an estate. Other holdings were small holdings.
The census in the small holding sector was carried out in two stages. At the 1st stage the enumerator visited each and every census unit namely housing unit, living quarters other than housing unit and non-housing units in the country and screened out the Agriculture operators thro' a schedule known as Agriculture Census 1 (AC-1). After identifying the agricultural operators, the enumerators collected the following information in respect of their operational holdings through the schedule Agricultural Census - 2 (AC-2).
a. Characteristics of the operators - age, sex, educational status
b. Type of ownership of holding
c. Operational Status of operator
d. Area of operational holding
e. Area under principal crops.
f. Irrigated and source of irrigation
g. Agriculture machinery owned and used
h. Numbers of livestock kept.
Along with the first stage census operation, the enumerators were instructed to summarize some important info obtained from AC-2 schedule on a summary sheet AC-4 in order to serve immediate needs of data users.
At the second stage a sample of 10% of the holdings was selected and the following info was collected thro' AC-3.
a. Population of operator's household
b. Sources of income of operator's household
c. Main occupation of the operator
d. Type of holding
e. Use of fertilizer and pesticides
f. Land utilization and tenure pattern
The estate sector was covered thro' a mailed questionnaire AC-5. A complete list of estates has been prepared by the field staff and to all these estates, census questionnaires were posted along with brief instructions. The estate managers were requested to fill the questionnaire and post them back to the respective District commissioners of Census. The non-respondents were visited by the District Census Staff and finally the response rate was as high as 99%. Following items were covered through the estate schedule:
a. Location of estate
b. Characteristics of the operator
c. Total area of the estate
d. Area under principal crop
e. Tenure and land utilization
f. Crop area and livestock numbers
g. Use of fertilizer and pesticides
h. Irrigation facilities
i. Population and employment
j. Agricultural employment
k. Agricultural machinery
Data editing took place at a number of stages throughout the processing, including:
a) Manual editing and coding
b) During data entry (Range edits)
c) Computer editing - Structural and consistency
d) Secondary editing
Detailed documentation of the editing of data can be found in the External resources Section.
Data were processed in baches, with each bach being processed as a complete unit through each stage of data processing. Each bach goes through the following steps:
1) Questionnaire reception
2) Manual editing and coding
3) Data entry
4) Verification entry
5) Computer editing
6) Comparison of verification data
7) Back up of raw data
8) Secondary editing
9) Edited data back up
After all baches are processed, all data is merged together and then the following steps are completed for all data files:
10) Recoding of variables needed for analysis
11) Adding of sample weights
Under the Statistical ordinance, micro data cannot be released with identifications for public use. Procedures are in place to ensure that information relating to any particular individual person, household or undertaking will be kept strictly confidential and will not be divulged to external parties. Information on individual or individual Household/establishment will not be divulged or published in such a form that will facilitate the identification of any particular person or establishment as the data have been collected under the Census/Statistical ordinance, according to which the information at individual level cannot be divulged and such information is strictly
The dataset has been anonymized and is available as a Public Use Dataset. It is accessible to all for statistical and research purposes only, under the following terms and conditions:
1. The data and other materials will not be redistributed or sold to other individuals, institutions, or organizations without the written agreement.
2. The data will be used for statistical and scientific research purposes only. They will be used solely for reporting of aggregated information, and not for investigation of specific individuals or organizations.
3. No attempt will be made to re-identify respondents, and no use will be made of the identity of any person or establishment discovered inadvertently.
4. No attempt will be made to produce links among datasets provided by the Department or among data from the Department and other datasets that could identify individuals or organizations.
5. Any books, articles, conference papers, theses, dissertations, reports, or other publications that employ data obtained from the Department will cite the source of data in accordance with the Citation Requirement provided with each dataset.
6. An electronic copy of all reports and publications based on the requested data will be sent to the Department
The following rules apply to micro data released by the Department of Census and Statistics.
• Only the requests of Government Institutions, Recognized Universities, Students, and selected international agencies are entertained. However, the Data users are required to strictly adhere to the terms stipulated in the agreement form.
• All the data requests should be made to Director General (DG) of the DCS as the sole authority of releasing data is vested with the DG of the DCS. The DCS of Sri Lanka reserves sole right to approve or reject any data request made depending on the confidential nature of the data set and intended purpose of the study or analysis.
• Requests for micro data should be made through the agreement form designed by DCS for this purpose (Form D.R.1). The agreement form should be filled in triplicate and the Study/project proposal should accompany the filled agreement form. If requests are made for the micro data of more than one survey, a separate agreement should be signed.
• If the data request is from a student a letter from the respective Dept. Head/Dean/Supervisor, recommending the issue of data, should also be accompanied.
• If the request is approved only 25% of the data file is released at the first stage. The release of the total data file is considered only after reviewing the draft report prepared on the basis of the 25% sample data file.
• The released Data file should be used only for the specific study/Analysis mentioned in the agreement form and shall not be used for any other purpose without the prior approval of the Director General of the DCS. Moreover, Copies of the micro-data file, obtained from the DCS, shall not be given to anyone else without the prior written approval of the Director General of the DCS.
• The draft report of the Study/Analysis should be submitted to the DCS and the concurrence of the DG of the DCS, should be obtained before publishing it. Once published, a copy of the final report should be submitted to the DCS.
[Department : The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS)]
Department of Census and Statistics, Census of Agriculture 1982 [AGRI 1982], Version 1.0 of the public use dataset December, 2008, provided by the National Data Archive, Data Processing Division, www.statistics.gov.lk"
Disclaimer and copyrights
The Department of Census and Statistics bears no responsibility for any results or interpretations arising from the secondary use of the data.
(c) 2008, Department of Census and Statistics
DDI Document ID
Department of Census and Statistics
Ministry of Finance and Planning
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 1.0 (December 2008).
Version 2.0 (August, 2013).DDI and ID numbers edited by World Bank for World Bank Microdata Library.