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Research Articles

Role and capacity of tea societies in the smallholding sector in Sri Lanka: an assessment based on the perceptions of extension officers

Authors:

K. G. J. P. Mahindapala ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About K. G. J. P.
Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture
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M. W. A. P. Jayathilaka,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About M. W. A. P.
Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture
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L. N. A. C. Jayawardane,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About L. N. A. C.
Faculty of Agriculture
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K. P. P. Kopiyawattage,

Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Puliyankulama, LK
About K. P. P.
Faculty of Agriculture
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M. P. M. De Mel

University of Peradeniya, LK
About M. P. M.
Faculty of Agriculture
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Abstract

Rural Tea Development Societies (RTS) have been established by the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority (TSHDA) to address the critical issues faced by the tea smallholders. This study attempted to assess the present status and the capacity of the RTS and also identify the attributes that affect their capacity. The perception of Tea Inspectors (TIs), the key entities responsible for extension support for the smallholders, were collected from twelve Focus Group Discussions. The opinions of 65 TIs with over five years of work experiences (who interact with about 575 RTS in seven major tea smallholding area) were analysed by qualitatively.

 

Results revealed, that the majority of RTS are not performing well due to internal factors such as poor leadership, lack of enthusiasm of members, lack of trustworthiness, status of the members, attitudes of members and also due to external factors such as ruralurban context, government benefits, the role of the extension agent, changes in the external environment, the effect of other organisation and politics. Contribution of the Main Officers, Management Committee and the membership is greater in RTS that are highly active than that of the poorly active RTS. The self-reliance capacity was low in the majority of the RTS and was highly dependent on TIs and the government’s assistance. Inbuilt weaknesses in the organisational culture were identified, mainly with respect to attitudes. The majority of RTSs are not goal-oriented. The majority of RTS are not dynamic in organisational performances. Finally, their key extension agents feel that critical intervention is required to overcome the above weaknesses.
How to Cite: Mahindapala, K.G.J.P., Jayathilaka, M.W.A.P., Jayawardane, L.N.A.C., Kopiyawattage, K.P.P. and De Mel, M.P.M., 2020. Role and capacity of tea societies in the smallholding sector in Sri Lanka: an assessment based on the perceptions of extension officers. Tropical Agricultural Research, 31(1), pp.43–55. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v31i1.8343
Published on 01 Jan 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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