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Problems encountered in the onion cultivation of the Dambulla area

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Big Onion crop was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British in 1855 and commercial cultivation was introduced by the Department of Agriculture during the 1950’s and over the past years, the crop performance was evaluated in many parts of the country and it was observed that big onions can be grown economically during every Maha season in almost all parts of the country.

2. However, at present the cultivation of big onion is confined only to Matale, Anuradhapura, Puthalama, Pollonnaruwa, Mahawelli and Jaffna Districts. More than 50% of the total onion production in Sri Lanka is cultivated from the Matale District. [1] 

3. The Government strives to achieve a self sufficient stage in the production of big onions since Sri Lanka spends a significant amount of cash outflow every year on the importation of the big onions. Meanwhile, in the recent past it has been noticed that the big onion production has been affected in Sri Lanka and therefore customers are also paying a higher price for the big onions. In particular the big onion production in Dambulla area has been declining in the last few years.

AIM OF THE RESEARCH

4. The Dambulla area plays an important role in the big onion cultivation in Sri Lanka. The Government has been paying less attention and support on promoting the big onion production in Dambulla.

Therefore, it has so happened that the onion production in Dambulla has declined in the recent past as a consequence of the government’s less support for this sector. Therefore, the main purpose of this study is to promote the big onion cultivation in the Dambulla area.

OBJECTIVES

General Objectives

5. This research is carried out with the following specific and general objectives.

a. The main general objective of this study is to identify the main problems encountered in the onion cultivation of the Dambulla area.

Specific objective

6. The specific objective of this study is to give the recommendation to improve the Big onion cultivation in the Dambulla area and specific objectives are as follows.

a. To study the recent history of Big onion cultivation in Dambulla area and to compare the present situation of the Big Onion cultivation.

b. To identify the main issues encountered in big onion cultivation in Dambulla.

c. To identify the critical contributing factors.

d. To make recommendations based on the findings.

CHAPTER TWO

METHODOLOGY

HYPOTHESIS

1. Low yield of onion industry in Dambulla is due to less assistance of the government sector

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

2. The Matale District plays an important role in the big onion cultivation in Sri Lanka in particular Dambulla provides big onions for the Sri Lankans’ consumption. In the recent past due to the lack of support from the government sector the big onion cultivation has been declining.

3. As a result the big onion cultivation in Dambulla will be non existence in the very near future. Furthermore, many farmers depend on the big onion cultivation as their livelihood in Dambulla. Hence, if the big onion cultivation in Dambulla is affected many families will lose their income and it will affect the survival of many families. Thus the lack of support from the government and the consequent less onion cultivation are considered as the research problem for this study.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

4. This research studies the declining stage of the onion cultivation in Dambulla. The scope covers only the Dambulla area of big onion farmers. Therefore, this research has been limited to the onion farmers of the Dambulla area.

DATA COLLECTION METHODS

a. Primary Data . Structured questionnaires were used to collect the data. These questionnaires consist of 2 parts they are; Part I – the factors determining the big onion cultivation in Dambulla and Part II – the personal profile. The first part comprises statements of two major factors which determine the big onion cultivation in Dambulla; poor quality of seeds and the lack of fertilizer support. To identify the responses the questionnaire in part I applied the Likert scale of 1 – 5, which ranges from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. The second part included the personal profile of the respondents relating to; age, sex, civil status and number of years the farmer has been in cultivation.

b. Secondary Data. In addition to primary data, secondary data also was collected for this research. It was collected by referring to the reports from the Agricultural Department and from the Department of Census and Statistics.

SAMPLE OF THE STUDY

7. This research studies the factors influencing the decline of the big onion cultivation in Dambulla. Therefore, the responses were collected from the local onion farmers from the Dambulla area. Thus, 100 big onion farmers were considered as a sample for this study since all farmers could not be accessible within the limited time for this study. These farmers were selected in a random basis. Therefore, the simple random sampling method was applied for the selection of the sample.

LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

8. The following limitations were encountered in the study.

a. Time is limited, so that within the limited time the research has to be finished because of this in-depth analysis cannot be applied.

b. The researcher encountered limitation of resources.

c. The sample was limited only to 100 farmers.

LITERATURE REVIEW

9. The big onion is an important minor crop consumed by many Sri Lankans and it has been estimated that 34,000 metric tons of onion is imported annually and Sri Lanka spends around 300 million rupees on onion importation (Gunawardena, 2009). Furthermore, it has been also estimated that 45,000 labour units are employed in the onion cultivation and production annually by Sri Lankans and therefore, it increases income and employment generation for many Sri Lankans. [2] 

10. Many countries worldwide are getting involved in the big onion production. In particular they are; Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, India, Pakistan etc (Research Institute for Vegetable crops, 2006).

11. According to Shanmugasundaram (2001) there are varieties of onion and it mainly includes the sweet, red, white, yellow, brown and green etc.

TYPES OF ONION

Source – Shanmugasundaram (2008)

BENEFITS OF ONION PRODUCTION

12. Furthermore, it has been identified that the big onion production brings several comparative benefits when compared to with other crops (Autko & Moisevich, 2006). Some of the benefits are given below.

a. Output can be obtained in a short period of time.

b. Initial costs such as; seeds costs, fertilizer costs are comparatively less.

c. It does not require a set cost.

d. Less technology the machines are sufficient.

e. High employability of manual labourers.

f. Easy to find markets.

g. Less storage period.

13. The onion basically has been divided into red onions and big onions and each variety requires different eco-agricultural conditions, labour, fertilizer, weather and climatic conditions, temperature, etc.

REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS NEEDED FOR THE ONION PRODUCTION

14. The literature suggests different requirements for smooth growing of the big onion production. Some of the conditions suggested by Autko and Moisevich (2006) are given below.

a. Increase of fertile soil layers in the zone of plant root by 4-6 cm

b. Increase of aeration and warming of soil, excluding over wetting in the period of heavy precipitation

c. Decrease of fertilizer rate application by 30%

d. Decrease of seed sowing rates

e. Ensuring of looser soil state during the whole period of vegetation

f. Possibility of soil surface copying by working organs of machines, during inter-row treatment, lowering of plant protective zone 3-5 cm, mechanical weed destruction by 70-75% and band application of pesticides that ensures the decrease of their rates by 2-3 times

g. Increase of irrigation efficiency

h. Diminution of nitrate content in the production

j. Decrease of energy expense during harvesting by 20-40%.

15. Therefore, the above conditions can be considered as the basic requirements for the growth and survival of the big onion production.

16. The onion basically has been divided into red onions and large onions and each variety requires different eco-agricultural conditions, labour, fertilizer, weather and climatic conditions, temperature, etc.

DECEASES IN THE ONION CULTIVATION

17. Shanmugasundaram, (2001) has identified the following diseases that affect the onion cultivation. He has divided these deceases into two.

a. Field diseases

b. Storage diseases

18. The field diseases comprises of Stemphylium blight , Purple blotch, Anthracnose, Botrytis leaf blight, Downy mildew, Pink root, Smudge, Smut and several Basal rots (Shanmugasundaram, 2001).

19. The storage diseases covers common field rots, botrytis neck rot, black mold and bacterial soft rot (Shanmugasundaram, 2001).

PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN THE BIG ONION CULTIVATION IN SRI LANKA

20. Meanwhile it has been learned that in the recent past the onion cultivation has been reducing as a result of many factors. Some factors identified by Kulatunga (2006) are presented below.

a. Lack of quality seeds

b. Lack of advice given for application of seeds

c. Insufficient loan facilities available to purchase high quality seeds

d. Long durations taken for harvesting from seeds

e. Lack of government support in providing fertilizer facilities to the onion production

f. Lack of quality fertilizers available for the onion producers

g. Lack of availability of fertilizer at outside and private outlets

h. Absence of counselling and advice given on how to apply the fertilizers for the new variety

j. Lack of storage facilities to store the onion production.

21. Though these problems are encountered in the onion production it can be divided into two major categories. These are given below.

a. Lack of government support in giving seeds to the onion cultivators.

b. Lack of government support to provide fertilizer to onion cultivation.

LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO SEEDS

22. It has been observed that big onion cultivation has been affected to greater extent by the lack of government motivation in finding required seeds. Thus; lack of quality seeds, lack of counselling and advise on applying seeds, lack of new variety of seeds, insufficient government financial support to purchase seeds, absence of assurance on harvesting duration etc are encountered under seeds (Kulatunga, 2006).

LACK OF FERTILIZER SUPPORT

23. Kulatunga (2006) has also identified that there is no sufficient fertilizer support to motivate the big onion production. In Sri Lanka it has been learned that the onion farmers lack government funding and subsidies to buy fertilizers. Furthermore, fertilizer is sold at a fairly high price in the outside outlets. In addition the efficient and harvest stimulating fertilizers are not available for the onion farmers. Also the high quality and different variety of fertilizers are also not available to increase the big onion cultivation in the Dambulla area.

INCREASING BIG ONION PRODUCTION

24. It is therefore important that the onion production is increased in order to protect the big onion industry and to assure the livelihood of many Sri Lankans. Hence the literature suggests that the following measures can increase the onion production.

a. Involving in research and development activities in order to increase the onion production.

b. Government providing support to find high quality seeds.

c. Government has to give seeds of the new varieties.

d. Government has to provide seeds at subsidized prices.

e. Government has to provide constant counselling and advice on handling seeds.

f. Government has to extend the fertilizer subsidy.

g. Providing high quality fertilizer.

h. Monitoring fertilizer distribution.

j. Counselling on handling diseases.

Conceptual model

25. From the literature review the following conceptual model has been developed.

Figure 3.1 Conceptual Model

Decreasing onion cultivation

Lack of fertilizer availability

Lack of seed availability

(Source – Formed for this Research Study)

26. The above figure depicts two sets of factors that determine the decrease in the onion cultivation; the lack of seed availability and the lack of fertilizer availability. This was derived from Kulatunga (2006). Each set of the major factors have sub factors. Therefore, these two are considered as the independent variables. The decreasing onion cultivation can be identified as the dependent variable. Hence, this figure establishes links between the factors and the decreasing onion cultivation. Through this research study one need to know which factor(s) cause for the decreasing onion cultivation, among the farmers in the Dambulla area.

Table 2.1 Operationalization of Variables

Concepts

Variables

Indicators

Level of Measurement

Question No.

Factors determining the onion cultivation

Lack of seeds availability

Receiving high quality seeds

Likert

Q1

Distribution of seeds by the government

Likert

Q2

Provision of subsidy by the government to buy seeds regularly

Likert

Q3

Seeds giving the expected harvest

Likert

Q4

Purchase seeds from the Government Agricultural Department

Likert

Q5

Provision of training and counselling regarding the new seeds by the government

Likert

Q6

I can get new varieties of seeds

Likert

Q7

I can get regular counselling and advice of the diseases on the seeds

Likert

Q8

Lack of fertilizers availability

Fertilizer subsidy from the government

Likert

Q9

Purchase of fertilizer from the Government Agricultural Department

Likert

Q10

Purchase of fertilizer from the private outlets at a less price

Likert

Q11

Getting high quality fertilizer

Likert

Q12

Getting advice and counselling for the application of fertilizers

Likert

Q13

Getting different variety of fertilizers

Likert

Q14

Getting fertilizer that can maximize the harvest

Likert

Q15

Storage of excess fertilizer for future use

Likert

Q16

(Source – Formed for this research study)

DATA EVALUATION

27. The mean and standard deviation were derived for data analysis. Furthermore, the criteria shown in the table below was adopted to evaluate the mean values.

Table 2.2 Evaluation Criteria for Mean Values

Range

Degree

1

3.67

Low level

Moderate level

High level

Source – Developed for this study

CHAPTER THREE

DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

1. This chapter covers the data presentation, analysis and discussion.

DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS

2. This section presents mean and standard deviation of the factors affecting the onion cultivation in Dambulla. The mean values have been distributed based on Likert’s Scale of one to five which represents “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. Meanwhile, mean values were evaluated based on the already established evaluative criteria which range from “low level” to “high level”.

Table 3.1 the values of mean and standard deviation (SD) of factors contributing to the onion cultivation:

Statements

From current staff

Mean

SD

Lack of seed availability

1.90

.25

Lack of fertilizer availability

2.24

.41Source – Survey Data

3. Table 3.1 represents values of mean and standard deviation of factors contributing to the decreasing level of the onion cultivation. The mean value of the seed availability is 1.90 and the standard deviation is 0.25. Since the mean value of seed availability (1.90) is less than 2.33, it falls into the category of “low level satisfaction”

4. Meanwhile, the mean value of fertilizer availability is 2.24 and standard deviation for the same variable is 0.41. Thus, the mean value of fertilizer availability (2.24) is less than 2.33 and it also falls under “low level of satisfaction”.

Table 3.2 the mean and standard deviation values for the statements in the seed availability:

Statements

Mean

SD

I get high quality seeds

1.88

.89

Government distribute seeds

1.94

.81

Government provides a subsidy to buy seeds regularly

1.74

.69

Seeds give an expected harvest

1.56

.61

We can buy seeds from the Government Agricultural Department

2.16

.86

Government provides training and counselling regarding the new seeds

2.12

.91

I can get new varieties of seeds

1.79

.55

I can get regular counselling and advice of the diseases in the seeds

1.85

.45Source – Survey Data

5. Table 3.2 shows the mean and standard deviation values for the statements in the seeds availability. As presented above, all eight statements that measure seed availability for the onion farmers in the Dambulla area have taken the mean values of less than 2.33. Therefore, it can be derived that farmers satisfaction on all statements of seed availability fall into the category of “lower level satisfaction”.

Table 3.3 the mean and standard deviation values for the statements in the fertilizer availability:

Statements

Mean

SD

I get fertilizer subsidy from the government

2.20

.92

I can buy fertilizer from the Government Agricultural Department

2.14

.85

I can buy fertilizer from private outlets at a less price

2.18

.99

I can get high quality fertilizer

2.20

.94

I get advice and counselling on the application of fertilizer

2.15

.93

I get different variety of fertilizer

2.24

.84

I get fertilizers that can maximize harvest

2.12

.96

I can store excess fertilizer for future use

2.09

.92

Source – Survey Data

6. Table 3.3 reveals the values of mean and standard deviation for the statements in the fertilizer availability. Hence all statements that measure the influence of fertilizer availability of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area have taken the mean values less than 2.33. Therefore it can be stated that the farmers satisfaction towards all statements of fertilizer availability fall into the category of “low level of satisfaction”.

Personal profile

7. This section presents data on the personal profile of the farmers in the Dambulla area. It covers age, sex, civil status and the number of years of experience in the onion cultivation of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area.

Age Distribution

Fig 3.1 the age distribution of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area:

Source – Survey Data

Table 3.4 the age distribution of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area

Age category

Frequency

Percent

Less than 25

30

30

26-35

28

28

35-45

24

24

Above 45

18

18

Total

100

100

Source – Survey Data

8. Fig 3.1 shows the age distribution of the respondents from onion farmers in the Dambulla area. Thirty percent of the respondents are less than 25 years and the respondents falling into the category of 26 – 35 and 35 – 45 are 28% and 24%, respectively and 82% of the respondents are less than the age of 45. Only 18% of the responded onion farmers are above the age of 45. Hence it reveals a fact that the majority of the onion framers in Dambulla are less than the age of 45.

9. Therefore it can be concluded that most of the young employees are found to be faced with a decreasing level of onion production.

Sex Distribution

Fig. 3.2 Sex distribution of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area

Source – Survey Data

Table 3.5 Sex distribution of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area

Sex category

Frequency

Percent

Male

68

68

Female

32

32

Total

100

100

Source – Survey Data

10. Fig 3.2 shows the sex distribution of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area. Sixty-eight percent of the responded onion farmers in the Dambulla area are male and 32% of the responded onion farmers are female.

11. This shows that most of the male onion farmers in the Dambulla area are found to be affected with a decreasing level of onion cultivation the Dambulla area.

Civil status

Fig 3.3 Civil status of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area

:

Source – Survey Data

Table 3.6 Civil status of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area

 Civil status

Frequency

Percent

Single

38

38

Married

62

62

Total

100

100

Source – Survey Data

12. Fig 3.3 shows the civil status of the responded onion farmers in the Dambulla area. Sixty-two percent of the respondents are married and 38% are single.

13. It is clear that most of the married onion farmers in the Dambulla area are found to be facing the problem of a decreasing level of onion cultivation the Dambulla area.

Distribution of years of experience

Fig. 3.4 Number of years of experience in the onion cultivation

Source – Survey Data

Table 3.7 Number of years of experience in the onion cultivation

Number of years of experience

Frequency

Percent

Less than 3

20

20

3-5

46

46

6-10

30

30

Above 10

4

4

Total

100

100

Source – Survey Data

14. Fig 3.4 shows the number of years of experience in the onion cultivation of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area. Accordingly, 20 % of the responded onion farmers in the Dambulla area have less than 3 years’ of experience and the responded onion farmers in the Dambulla falling into the category of 3 – 5 and 6 – 10 years are 46% and 30%, respectively. Only 4% of the responded onion farmers have the experience of above 10 years. Thus, more than 95% of the responded onion farmers in the Dambulla area have less than 10 years of experience.

15. Therefore it can be stated that the most of the onion farmers in the Dambulla area who have an experience of less than 10 years are found to be encountering the problem of a decreasing level of onion cultivation in the Dambulla area.

CHAPTER FOUR

DISCUSSION AND ARGUMENTS

1. This chapter provides the discussion on analysis. It presents the mean and the standard deviation of the two factors contributing to the onion cultivation.

Table 4.1 Mean and standard deviation values for the statements in the seed availability:

Statements

Mean

SD

I get high quality seeds

1.88

.89

Government distribute seeds

1.94

.81

Government provides the subsidy to buy seeds regularly

1.74

.69

Seeds give the expected harvest

1.56

.61

We can buy seeds from the Government Agricultural Department

2.16

.86

Government provides training and counselling regarding the new seeds

2.12

.91

I can get new varieties of seeds

1.79

.55

I can get regular counselling and advise on the diseases in the seeds

1.85

.45

Source – Survey Data

2. As presented in Table 4.1 the onion farmers have expressed their lower level of satisfaction on all statements of the availability of seeds and the quality, because all mean values are under the category of 1 – 2.33.

3. Thus the first statement “I get high quality seeds” has taken a mean value of 1.88 which represents that the onion farmers are not highly satisfied with the availability of the high quality seeds.

4. Similarly the second statement “Government distribute seeds” has taken a mean value of 1.94 and this also comes under the lower level of satisfaction. This reflects that the government does not distribute seeds and therefore it also affects their onion cultivation.

5. Third statement “Government provides the subsidy to buy seeds regularly” has taken a mean value of 1.79 which represents that the onion farmers are not satisfied with the government’s subsidies to buy the seeds.

6. Fourth statement “Seeds gives the expected harvest” has taken a mean value of 1.56 which reflects that the onion farmers are less satisfied with the amount of harvest from the seeds and this affect the onion cultivation from the Dambulla area.

7. 5th statement “We can buy seeds from the Government Agricultural Department” has given a mean value of 2.16 which shows that the onion farmers are unable to purchase seeds from the agricultural department and this also reduces the onion cultivation.

8. Next statement “Government provides training and counselling regarding the new seeds” has obtained a mean value of 2.12 which indicates that the onion cultivators do not get sufficient training and counselling from the relevant authorities on how to apply the new varieties of seeds and this affects the onion cultivation in the Dambulla area.

9. 7th statement “I can get new varieties of seeds” has received a mean value of 1.79 and this refers that the farmers are unable to get new varieties of seeds and therefore the onion production has come down in Dambulla.

10. The final statement “I can get regular counselling and advice on the diseases in the seeds” has given a mean value of 1.85 which signifies that the onion farmers do not get regular counselling and advice on new diseases affecting the onion cultivation. Therefore, they are unable to protect the onion cultivation and ensure higher growth.

Table 4.2 Mean and standard deviation values for the statements in the fertilizer availability:

Statements

Mean

SD

I get the fertilizer subsidy from government

2.20

.92

I can buy fertilizer from Government Agricultural Department

2.14

.85

I can buy fertilizer from the private outlets at a less price

2.18

.99

I can get high quality fertilizer

2.20

.94

I get advice and counselling on the application of fertilizer

2.15

.93

I get different variety of fertilizers

2.24

.84

I get fertilizer that can maximize the harvest

2.12

.96

I can store the excess fertilizer for future use

2.09

.92Source – Survey Data

11. As in Table 4.2 the onion cultivators have indicated lower level of satisfaction on all statements of fertilizer availability because the mean in all comes under the category of 1 – 2.33.

12. Thus the first statement “I get the fertilizer subsidy from government” has taken a mean value of 2.20 and this means that the onion farmers do not get fertilizer subsidy to buy the fertilizer and this leads towards less onion cultivation.

13. Similarly the second statement “I can buy fertilizer from the Government Agricultural Department.” has taken a mean value of 2.14 and this falls under the lower level of satisfaction. This reflects that the farmers are unable to purchase fertilizer from the agricultural department and has limited capacity of increasing their production.

14. Third statement “I can buy the fertilizer from private outlets at a less price” has taken a mean value of 2.18 stating that the onion farmers cannot buy fertilizer at a less price from other outside outlets. Therefore, it has affected their capacity of the onion cultivation.

15. Next statement “I can get high quality fertilizer” has taken a mean value of 2.20 which represents that the onion farmers are finding difficulties in purchasing fertilizer that can maximize their harvest and it has reduced the onion cultivation.

16. 5th statement “I get advice and counselling on the application of fertilizer” has given a mean value of 2.15, indicating that the farmers are unable to get advise and counselling on how to use different varieties of fertilizer. This has limited the onion cultivation in Dambulla.

17. 6th statement “I get different variety of fertilizer” has obtained a mean value of 2.24 which indicates that the onion cultivators are unable to find different varieties and new varieties of fertiliser that stimulate more harvest. As a result the onion cultivation has been less in the Dambulla area.

18. 7th statement “I get fertilizer that can maximize the harvest” has received a mean value of 2.12 and it means that the onion farmers are unable to find fertiliser that can give the optimal harvest and this has affected the onion cultivation from Dambulla.

19. The final statement “I can store excess fertilizer for future use” has given a mean value of 2.09 which indicates that the onion farmers do not have facilities of storage and keeping fertilizer for future use. Therefore, their fertilizer utilization is not optimal. Therefore the onion cultivation has been limited in Dambulla.

CHAPTER FIVE

FINDINGS/RESULTS

1. This chapter provides the findings and the discussions. It presents the mean and

the standard deviation of the two factors contributing to the onion cultivation.

Table 5.1 Values of mean and standard deviation


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