Honors Project - Open Access
In Sri Lanka, smallholder tea producers grow 70 percent of the country’s tea and bring in significant export earnings. However, when the country moved towards a more liberalized economy in the 1970s, growing cash crops such as tea for exports increased. As a result, there was a cut-back in food crop agriculture as farmers made space to grow more commercial crops. This research treats tea smallholder households as a unit of study. It looks at how economic status (average income and wealth rankings), level of crop diversity, and method of tea farming (organic or conventional) have influenced food security and dietary diversity outcomes. I use data collected in the summer of 2021 from 47 organic and 67 conventional tea smallholders in six rural communities of Southern and Central Sri Lanka. My findings show that organic farming is associated with greater dietary diversity among tea smallholders than conventional farming, growing a greater variety of cash crops is associated with greater dietary diversity and increasing household incomes through selling crops result in greater levels of dietary diversity. I also examine how the transition to organic farming works best with more time and planning. The country’s recent ban on imports of chemical fertilizers used by conventional tea farmers has impacted their dietary diversity and food security outcomes, since this was done in a rather haphazard manner causing declines in tea and food crop yields. Furthermore, I study how the increased income levels and increased number of cash crops grown influence better levels of dietary diversity among tea smallholders.
Bathige, Nethmi, "Food Security and Dietary Diversity among Conventional and Organic Tea-Smallholders in Central and Southern Sri Lanka" (2022). Geography Honors Projects. 72.
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