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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - COCOS
Title An Assessment of Labour Availability in Major Coconut Growing Areas in Coconut Triangle
Issue 19
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 13-26
URL http://cocos.sljol.info/article/download/4747/3809/
Scarcity of labour, increased labour charges and shortage of both skilled and unskilled labour have become a major issue for coconut growers. This study aimed to assess the current labour availability in coconut cultivation sector. A field survey was conducted from October to December 2005, focusing four major coconut growing areas in the coconut triangle namely Kurunegala, Kuliyapitiya, Marawila and Gampaha. The findings show that an acute laboure shortage is experienced by 23% and 21% of the respondents in Kuliyapitiya and Gampaha regions respectively. Generally, 65% shortage in Gampaha, 60% in Kuliyapitiya, 50% in Kurunegala and 27% shortage in Marawila were reported. An acute shortage for skilled labour necessary for harvesting was reported in Gampaha and Marawila whereas in other two areas it was for unskilled labour. Irrespective of the region, young generation’s participation to the labour force was very poor. Generally, smallholders pay higher wage rates compared to estate sector. Skilled labour is 3 to 4 times highly paid compared to the unskilled labour in each region. In terms of wage rates a statistically significant gender disparity exists in each region favouring male labour. The findings suggest the need of inventing innovative mechanization technology in order to reduce the dependence on manual labour. The cost effectiveness of the mechanization technologies is also highlighted. A deep attitudinal change is a requisite to attract the young generation to cultivation sector and there is a possibility of reintroducing harvesting as a recognized commercial service by a company.

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