Nimesha Dissanayaka

Bridging the Gap: Unlocking Untapped Potential in Sri Lanka’s Agricultural Exports

The government is giving renewed emphasis to increasing agriculture exports to manage the trade deficit and foreign debt burden. Most recently, a draft national agricultural policy has been prepared, with comments being sought from relevant stakeholders. This blog highlights gaps in the international market which the agriculture sector can target, identifies factors impeding export-sector growth in agriculture, and suggests solutions for unlocking the untapped potential in this vital sector.

COVID-19: a wake-up call for Sri Lanka’s tea industry

By the time COVID-19 hit, Sri Lanka’s tea production and export earnings had already been on a declining trend. The adverse weather conditions and long-term structural issues such as labour shortages and lack of technological application have affected production levels over time. With the first wave of the pandemic, the vulnerabilities of the tea sector were exposed. Now, Sri Lanka and most of the main tea buyers are experiencing a second wave which can have far reaching negative consequences than previously anticipated. This blog discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on Sri Lanka’s tea industry and the different mitigation strategies that the government can adopt to revive the industry.

Tobacco Cultivation: A Threat to Sri Lanka’s Food Security amidst COVID-19

In 2017, the government made a commitment to ban tobacco cultivation by end 2020 and launched a programme to discourage farmers from growing tobacco and instead switch to sustainable alternatives. While the transition period of the proposed cultivation ban is nearly over, the programme is currently at a deadlock. This blog examines how tobacco cultivation could weaken the government’s efforts to promote home gardening and why the transformation initiative should be sped up to improve food security during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Contract Farming: A Way to Even the Playing Field?

Farmers in rural areas struggle with the lack of agricultural inputs, outdated technology used in agronomic practices, unpredictable weather, and difficulties in finding better markets with reasonable prices for their harvest. In most areas, small-scale farmers are sidelined when there are large scale players in the production field. The author argues that Contract Farming (CF) can help even the playing field by integrating traditional farmers into existing modern value chains.