Mismanagement of coconut plantations, compared to other commercial crops, has caused serious constraints in improving the yield, Chairman of the Coconut Research Institute, Dr. D.B.T. Wijeratne said.
He said that virtually no commercial cultivation uses organic fertilizer which is a must to improve soil condition and ground water absorption and very few estates use inorganic fertilizer.
"The plantation needs at least 1 per cent organic matter in soil and it would be better if it is at least about 2 per cent" Dr. Wijeratne said.
He said that in most places the percentage of organic matter available is less than half per cent.
The presence of organic matter in soil is an important factor in moisture management in plantations as a coconut tree absorbs about 50 liters of water per day from soil.
"Since most of our estates are presently having third generation coconut plants without any inter-cropping, the situation has resulted in drastic drop in the yield during droughts" Dr. Wijeratne said.
He said that by proper soil and water management techniques and optimum usage of fertilizer, the yield could be improved during the dry season.