Farmers’ Perspective on Importance and Constraints of Seaweed Farming in Sri Lanka


Seaweed cultivation is identified as a catalyst for social progression in coastal communities.  Despite the potentials, the seaweed cultivation introduced to resettled coastal districts in Sri Lanka seems not performing to the expectations owing to various reasons. Farmers' perspective as the leading stakeholders would facilitate the understanding of such a complexity. Therefore, the study attempted to assess the values and constraints related to seaweed farming as perceived by the seaweed farmers. Two-stage stratified random sampling technique was employed to draw a sample of 160 seaweed growers from the purposely-selected coastal areas of northern Sri Lanka. A perceived ordinal ranking method was exercised to assess the perceived importance, whilst Garrett's ranking technique to detect the judgment of the farmers about the constraints. Next to fishing, seaweed farming received the highest perceived importance of the respondents. Favorable income and employment generation, the ability to easily manage with fishing, supportive role in empowering women and the existence of a favorable contract growing system were among the major causative responses contributed to the perceived importance. Major constraints identified in sea weed farming were adverse weather pattern (19.6%), poor quality of existing planting materials (16.68%), distortions prevailing in the purchasing mechanism (14.7%) and improper aquatic environments (13.74%).  Thus, the study concluded that seaweed farming is perceived as an important livelihood option for the coastal communities and developing strategies to mitigate the impact of adverse environmental changes would promote seaweed cultivation. 


G.A.S. Ginigaddara* and A.Y.A. Lankapura