The project is implementing by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority of the Ministry to the Ministry of Power & Energy (MoP&RE).

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Economic analysis of commonly used agroforestry models

There are four commonly used agroforestry models in Sri Lanka:

  • Farmer wood lot programs
  • Kandyan forest garden systems
  • Plantation company wood lots
  • Intercropping agroforestry models

This article gives an overview on the potential and difficulties of each model. A brief summary of the results is presented together with recommendations for further research.

Farmer wood lot programs

Findings suggest that this model is profitable. There are many advantage of this program; increase farmers income, marginal and uneconomic land is used for productive purposes… just to mention a few. However, it is worth mentioning the main disadvantage of using this model is the long waiting period in obtaining revenue. That is why, among other things, it is recommended to introduce short aged fuelwood / timber species to reduce the long waiting period in obtaining revenue.

Kandyan forest garden system

This is a traditional cropping model which has been in practice for several centuries. Cultivation of mixed crops (such as spices, fruits, medicinal plants, timer and fuelwood species) in home gardens is common in this system. It was observed that farmers using this model were, for the most part, part time workers. They did not usually conduct any agro / silvicultural operations (with the exception of the tea plantations). The major sources of revenue came from selling export agricultural crops and selling timber trees. However, wood residuals and any fuelwood were mainly used for cooking. No fuelwood surplus was used for selling in the open market, as often there is not a clear market channel for them. During the survey, it was noted that farmers expressed their willingness to cultivate suitable fuelwood species if a clear marketable channel was put in place to sell their surplus as it presents an opportunity to generate additional income. It is important to highlight that in order to make this model viable, it is necessary to undertake studies to estimate land availability for suitable fuelwood species cultivation. Further, in order to increase farmer’s confidence, it is necessary to establish suitable mechanism to market and sell their surplus at a reasonable price.

Plantation Company woodlots

There is a great potential for fuelwood /timber production in plantation companies. Many of these companies are already growing species of fuelwood for their own consumption (and not for the open market) using appropriate silvicultural operations. It was found that this model is profitable, not only if prices are as high as in the open market, but also if barriers in tree felling and transport are removed.

Intercropping models

Intercropping coconut, pepper and glyricidia seems to be more profitable and can increase farmers’ income. Farmer’s perception and lack of interest on this combination has to be examined. A proper market mechanism needs to be established. Finally incentive scheme may be useful at the beginning until the industry stabilize.