Coronavirus Outbreak

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.

No School, No Meals: Sri Lanka’s Battle against Child Malnutrition amidst COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and preschools have been closed for nearly three months and until further notice. Missing out on school meals may lead to nutritional deficits of thousands of poor children in Sri Lanka. This is a grave situation, as nutritional shocks during childhood can result long-term effects on health and education outcomes. Given this context, the blog will discuss some steps that can be taken to mitigate nutritional fallouts among vulnerable children.

New Face of Hunger: Building a Resilient Food System in Sri Lanka in an Age of Pandemic

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.

Repatriation and Replacement of Lost Foreign Jobs: Handling Labour Migration in Sri Lanka during COVID-19

Sri Lanka, which has been sending workers abroad for employment for decades, is now faced with the formidable challenge of repatriating large numbers of migrant workers affected by COVID-19. This exercise calls for a continued coordination with the returnees, beyond the period of travel and quarantine. This blog dissects the nuances of labour migration, lost foreign employment opportunities, and repatriation brought about by the spread of COVID-19 and provides policy recommendations to successfully re-enter foreign labour markets.

Coping with COVID-19: Economics of Social Media Based Business in Sri Lanka during Crises

As of January 2018, there were six million active social media users in Sri Lanka, accounting for 30% of the population. Given the complete cessation of usual business practices in Sri Lanka for the past six weeks, due to prolonged curfew, businesses of all sizes have begun to use social media as their preferred platform to continue commercial activities. For instance, many major supermarkets and other vendors have also started connecting to their customers directly via platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. Similarly, social media based Micro, Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) have also attempted to restart their service provision, amidst several limitations. This blog discusses the impact of crises on social media based MSMEs in Sri Lanka.