Despite multiple measures by successive governments to bring down tobacco prevalence in Sri Lanka, still more than one in four males use tobacco. Reducing smoking prevalence is also identified as one of the concerns in the manifesto of the newly elected president of Sri Lanka. This blog argues that bringing down tobacco prevalence further will entail tightening tobacco control policies and initiating focused measures targeting difficult-to-reach groups.
A study by IPS and GLWC examined the living wage for tea pluckers in Sri Lanka, to act as a catalyst for action throughout the value chain to raise wages towards a living wage. Here, the estimated gross living wage was Rs. 23,785 per month in January 2019. This blog argues that the prevailing wage of these workers has to be raised by at least Rs. 3,055 (15%) to reach the living wage level.
Significant increases to tobacco taxes is the best means of controlling tobacco consumption. The high cost of tobacco dissuades new users, reduces consumption of current users, and discourages those who have quit smoking from restarting. Children and youth, particularly, respond positively to price increases in tobacco. This blog examines how Sri Lanka is faring against the global best practices and recommend policy reforms to strengthen tobacco control.
While the topic of tobacco control is mentioned in some of the main presidential candidates’ manifestos, it is uncertain whether they will honour the commitment made in 2017 to ban tobacco cultivation by next year. Since two third of the transition period of the proposed cultivation ban has already lapsed, it is unclear whether the shift from tobacco will be achieved by the end of 2020. Another concern is whether the 2019 presidential election will be an opportunity for lobby groups to convince policymakers to reverse the proposed ban. In such an uncertain policy environment, this blog examines the possibility of switching to alternative crops.
Rapid population growth has put tremendous pressure on the world’s agricultural systems to provide safe and nutritious food to all. Unfortunately, productivity growth has been hampered by land and water resources degradation and climate change. As it stands, emerging technologies of the 4IR can overcome the structural weaknesses of the current food systems and deliver more productive, competitive, and sustainable outcomes. This blog examines the ways in which such technologies can revolutionise the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka.