Dr Manoj Thibbotuwawa Highlights the Need for Repurposing Public Expenditure on Agriculture to Enhance Agricultural Development

13 June 2024

IPS Research Fellow and Head of the Agricultural Economic Policy Research Unit, Dr Manoj Thibbotuwawa emphasised the urgent need to repurpose public expenditure allocation (PEA) to the agriculture sector due to the government’s budgetary constraints amid the current economic crisis. He noted that despite PEA in agriculture has increased in absolute terms, its share of the total budget has declined from 7 percent to 2 percent over the past decade.

Dr Thibbotuwawa further pointed out that irrigation continues to attract a significant share of PEA in agriculture. Highlighting the areas for repurposing, he revealed that a major share of the irrigation budget is directed towards capital expenditure rather than improving irrigation water use efficiency or introducing smart micro-irrigation techniques.

Dr Thibbotuwawa shared these insights during the Workshop on Prioritising Public Expenditure Towards Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in South Asia held on June 13, 2024, at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo. The regional workshop jointly organised by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the IPS brought together government officials, researchers, academia, development partners, and other relevant stakeholders in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka to discuss the way forward in terms of public expenditure allocation priorities in the South Asia region.

IPS Executive Director, Dr. Dushni Weerakoon inaugurated the workshop, highlighting the significance of the IFPRI collaboration, in supporting IPS researchers to undertake research related to various disciplines including agriculture and food security. Mr R.H.W.A Kumarasiri, Director General, Department of National Planning and Ms Latisha Liyanage, Additional Secretary (Development), Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour, respectively.