Among the many impending crises resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, rising food insecurity due to lockdown measures is one of the most critical. The food system in Sri Lanka has already proven to be vulnerable and inefficient in coping with crises. Further, malnutrition is a persistent problem in Sri Lanka, with severe regional disparities. Policymakers are thus faced with the dual challenge of mitigating the short and medium term impacts of COVID-19 as well as strengthening Sri Lanka’s food systems in the long term. This blog examines how COVID-19 could worsen food security issues in the country and what measures can be taken to overcome these challenges.
On-street parking is common in urban Colombo. Last year, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) introduced parking meters in central Colombo; in addition to the parking fee, drivers are now slapped with late fees and fines for non-payment. While there have been many criticisms and complaints about the parking fee system, this blog examines the choice set and the rationalisation of a driver’s decision to pay an ex-ante parking fee versus an ex-post parking fine.
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.
If current marine plastic pollution trends continue, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish by 2050, predicts the World Economic Forum. In 2016, South Asia generated 26 million tonnes of plastic waste and unsurprisingly this has led to the creation of a “dead zone” – an area where oxygen levels are too low to sustain marine life – in the Bay of Bengal. Dinushka Paranavitana argues that the solution to the rising problem of land-based marine plastic pollution in Sri Lanka is a combined force of banning single-use plastics, proper waste management, and the use of sustainable ecofriendly alternatives.