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.
Sri Lanka was ranked as the second most affected country by the impacts of weather-related losses in 2017, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2019. Worryingly, the country’s situation has worsened since 2016. This highlights Sri Lanka’s vulnerability to climate impacts and the need for effective policies. The good news is that the 2019 Budget proposes several measures to improve Sri Lanka’s disaster resilience. In this blog, Kanchana Wickramasinghe discusses the challenges and gaps in disaster management and the ways in which Sri Lanka can improve its capacity to face these calamities.
It has become apparent that natural disasters have a gender aspect, where women are often affected more severely than men. A woman’s pre-disaster familial responsibilities are magnified and expanded by a disaster, often with significantly less support and resources. The author argues that, given that women are often in a disadvantaged position in many contexts, the promotion of gender equality implies that attention need to be paid to female empowerment in disaster management.
Farmers in rural areas struggle with the lack of agricultural inputs, outdated technology used in agronomic practices, unpredictable weather, and difficulties in finding better markets with reasonable prices for their harvest.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.