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Abstract

Coconut-based intercropping (CBI) in Sri Lanka was introduced some 20 years ago to overcome the two main limitations of traditional coconut monocropping, inefficient land use and low incomes to farmers, but it has not been widely adopted. This study analyses the effect of farm-level resource constraints, and government policies on the intensity of adoption of CBI. A multiperiod linear programming (MLP) model was applied for three farmer groups - resource poor, medium endowed, well endowed - categorised using cluster analysis. Data was collected from a survey of randomly selected 113 intercroppers. Empirical results reveal that expansion of CBI is mainly constrained by seasonal labour shortages for all farmer groups, particularly the well endowed, and by the scarcity of cash in the case of resource-poor farmers. CBI policies aimed at subsidising inputs or intercrop prices are not likely to be efficient in raising adoption, but alternative policies aimed at alleviating resource constraints would be more effective. The study concluded that the low adoption of CBI is mainly attributable to the scarcity of different farm-level resources (other than land), at varying degrees among different farmer groups. Hence a targeted approach to alleviate them is suggested.

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