Agriculture is the primary livelihood of the population of Batticaloa District. The District’s crop year is from October to September. Based on the rainy season, the cropping season is classified into two main seasons (i) Maha (ii) Yala. The Maha cropping season is from October to March during the north-east monsoon where most of the rain fall is received. Yala cropping season is from April to September. Batticaloa receives annually between 864 to 3081 mm rainfall, and the temperature ranges from 23 C to 36 C
Paddy being the main crop, is cultivated in an extend of 61,321 Hectares and 49,339 Hectares is utilized for Highlands cop cultivation. In Batticaloa like other parts of Sri lanka, farmers follow two types of Agricultural practices i.e. the rain fed and the irrigated. Most of the Agriculture in Batticaloa is rain fed since the total irrigable area of the District is less than 35% of the total cultivatable extend.
The growth of paddy production is quite variable between irrigated and rain fed areas. As a result, agriculture scenario presents a mixed picture. Productivity of irrigated paddy fields is high, on the other side; productivity of rain fed is very low. Usually wealthy farmers own land under irrigation and the vulnerable own small plots of rain fed lands.
Irrigation plays a vital role in crop cultivation in the District. Based on the capacity and the governing department, the irrigation tanks in Batticaloa are categorized in to three.
Major Irrigation tanks- There are nine major tanks including Navakiri, Unnichchai, Rugam, Vahanery, and Kaddumurivu. Managed by the regional Irrigation Department of Batticaloa, the tanks all together hold a capacity of 159,408 Acre feet.
Medium Irrigation tanks- There are thirteen medium tanks including Pulugunawa, Kadukkamunai , Sevagapattu, Mahiladithivu Kulam, Adachchakal Tank, Palugamam Priya Kulam, Porathivu Priya Kulam and Mahiloor Priya Kulam. Managed by the Provincial Irrigation Department of Batticaloa, the tanks all together hold a capacity of 28,703 Acre feet.
Minor Irrigation Tanks- There are hundreds of minor irrigation tanks scattered around villages of Batticaloa, they are also called the village tanks. These tanks are managed by the Agrarian services of Batticaloa and maintained by the farmer organization.