Assessment of women centered agricultural extension programmes in Balangoda Agriculture zone in Sri Lanka

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In Sri Lanka, a significant number of new agricultural extension programmes has been launched by the Department of Agriculture (DOA) not only for male farmers but also for female farmers in order to uplift their living standards. Although, there is a very high proportion of labour force in the sector only a little pay contribution is made to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP). Hence, it is less productive. A major proportion of the agricultural labour force is female workers. Thus, this research assesses the impacts of agricultural extension programmes on women farmers in Balangoda Agriculture Division of Ratnapura district. Although, the extension programmes provided in this context have been useful, adoption levels of these extension programmes by women farmers were not so satisfactory. According to findings, 15 agricultural extension programmes have been conducted by the DOA. Among them, more adoption rates were found in “food technology and nutrition” and “kitchen management” programmes. Impacts of the extension programmes on women farmers were found as finding an extra income for their family, gaining knowledge on management of family health, nutrition level, reduction of family expenditure, enhancement in educational opportunities and having positive changes in their lives. Providing more support and market facilities will give better impacts of these programmes for the women farmers. Moreover, extension officers have to encourage and motivate women farmers to maintain these businesses in sustainable manner.