Homestead Food Demand in Sri Lanka
Food industry appears as a leading profitable business in the present world. It has passed various forms in the history and still developing gradually with the technological, economical, socio-cultural and demographic changes and challenges. Introduction of conventional farming is a result of high demand for the foods from the rapidly growing world population. Accordingly, the ancient subsistence agriculture system had been transformed to a modern conventional food trade at present, but one of the outcomes is unexpected health and environment problems.
To cater the consumer demand successfully, producers needed to introduce the new technological innovations to farming and other cultivation sector to use minimum production input to get maximum output. This led to less attention on the health and environment protection. But the use of Chemical weedicides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers (were) essentials for conventional farming method as the relevant highbred plant varieties have less response on natural fertilizers and other traditional pest and weed control methods.
After few decades, scientists involved in agriculture stream have understood that there were issues both in health and environment sectors due to conventional farming methods. Therefore, scientific researches were emerged to find out a substitution for conventional food commodities to cater the growing demand for unconventional harmless food.
As a result, modern organic farming method was introduced and increased the consumer demand over the world especially in developed countries. As such, the organic food industry has been taken a prominent role in the market.
In the Sri Lankan context, transforming to organic farm production is not an easy attempt as it has an expensive modern method which has to be implemented with maximum care. Also the prices of organic farm foods are comparatively higher than conventional food in the local market. Therefore, the local organic farm production has been focused mainly on to export market by relevant entrepreneurs.
Most of the consumers are using the term “organic” for homestead farm products and other traditional food commodities. Though they use this term, it is understood that there is a growing demand for unconventional food commodities. Homestead farm foods are being mainly produced in the rural sector of Sri Lanka and the majority of buyers are from urban sector.
Therefore, the Sri Lankan consumer demand in homestead farm production is growing as a substitution for organic farm products.
In the view of sustainable development, above circumstances could be applied both in rural sector farmer community development and promotion of homestead farm food consumables.
Above mentioned demand in homestead farm food has already been used by urban processed food dealers such as hotels, restaurants. Hoteliers exhibit their name boards both in Sinhala and English such as, “Village food shop”, “Salt and Chillier”, and “Village style Buffet”. Either they are marketing the values of our tradition or attempting to promote our values, it has resulted to open a new path to improve our rural economy.
Hence, it is clearly understood that there is a reliable demand for our traditional and indigenous food commodities especially in urban areas.
Hence, in the view of rural development, the demand of homestead foods could be used not as a business strategy but as both in rural farmer community development and to fulfill local health conscious and environmental loving customer requirements.