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.
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.
IPS’ New Thinkers Symposium saw researchers from several think tanks presenting their work on broad topics, under the theme of Technology and Economic Transformation. They highlighted the need for dynamic and innovative thinking to succeed in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), in the areas of agriculture, megatrends, social security, trade, and e-governance.
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.