SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum: Enhancing Agricultural Value Chains in South Asia

20 January 2023

Sri Lanka Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) and USAID Innovation Lab on Policy Research, Capacity and Influence organised the 16th Annual Research Forum: Enhancing Agricultural Value Chains in South Asia on 20 January 2023 at the Dr Saman Kelegama Auditorium, IPS.

In her welcome remarks, Dr Dilini Hemachandra, President, SAEA noted that Agricultural Economists’ active involvement and contribution are now needed more than ever, given Sri Lanka’s worst economic and food security crises. She outlined five priority areas for addressing these challenges. These are (1) scenario analysis (particularly understanding the effect of unexpected scenarios on agricultural policies) (2) climate change (3) technological development (4) policies and policy influencing and (5) collaboration with local and international partners.

Chief Guest of the 16th SAEA Research Forum, Mr Abdul Rahim Siddiqui, Country Coordinator and Representative, World Food Programme (WFP), remarked that while last year was turbulent due to the global crises, Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and deteriorating food security situation, it provided a rich learning opportunity to understand the existing gaps in the country’s food security context. He noted that the WFP recommends a systemic approach to ensure food security and access to nutritious food for all interventions. Keynote speaker of the event, Dr Derek Heady, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI spoke about food systems for nutrition and drew attention to the rising cost of a healthy diet in Sri Lanka, which has risen by 30% in real terms. He discussed the impact of ‘rice attachment’ or dependency on rice as a staple in daily diets in the South Asian region and, thereby, the need to re-design food policies for nutrition and other goals. Accordingly, Dr Heady stressed the need to diversify policy strategies and investment in non-staple food and policy focus on improving affordability and access to nutrient dense food.

The other sessions of the 16th SAEA Research Forum included a special session on Enhancing Agricultural Value Chains in South Asia, followed by the Annual General Meeting of SAEA. Among the last two sessions of the event were contributory paper sessions and a special session on the Dissemination of Findings of Agriculture Sector Modernization Projects (ASMP).

SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum
SAEA 16th Annual Research Forum