Food Security

Measuring the Pulse of Pulses: Improving Food Security in Sri Lanka

While Sri Lanka is recovering from its worst economic crisis since independence, significant concerns remain as 42% of the households still adopt food coping strategies which severely affect both quantity and the quality of protein consumption. Pulses are rich in quality and quantity of proteins, however, pulses comprise only 8% of Sri Lanka’s per capita protein supply. Also, the per capita availability of pulses for consumption in Sri Lanka through local production and imports is just over half the recommended quantity for a balanced diet. Against this backdrop, this blog analyses the trends in pulse production, consumption requirements, trade, and associated policy options to provide recommendations for sustainable pulse production to meet the dietary consumption and nutritional requirements of Sri Lanka’s growing population.

Food Fight: Sri Lanka’s Battle for Food Security

World Food Day is observed on 16 October to promote awareness and action to ensure regular access to nutritious food for all. This year’s theme is ‘Leave NO ONE Behind’. Global disruptions including COVID-19, the climate crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, have impacted food supplies worldwide. However, Sri Lanka’s food insecurity is largely a result of the prevailing economic crisis coupled with short-sighted policies enforced by local policymakers, with the burden being highest on the poor and vulnerable. The overnight ban on chemical fertiliser imports has been costly and generated a lower harvest. Although the ban has since been reversed, it continues to have ripple effects on the food system. The blog examines Sri Lanka’s struggle to safeguard food and nutrition security amidst the ongoing economic crisis and outlines policy steps to tackle the challenge.

Sri Lanka’s Food Crisis: What is the Role of Imports?

Food security has become a pressing concern for many Sri Lankans amidst a deepening domestic economic crisis, drastic loss of rice production, and post-Ukraine crisis commodity price surge in the world market. International organisations have started humanitarian programmes targeting the country’s most vulnerable citizens, while policymakers are pushing for increased domestic food production. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan households are bracing for a looming food crisis. Google search data shows a renewed interest in food security and home gardening-related search terms by Sri Lankans. Against this backdrop, this article assesses the role of imports and trade policy in safeguarding the food security of Sri Lanka.

Food Security in the BIMSTEC Region: Lessons from Sri Lanka’s Smart Farming

Sri Lanka is hosting the fifth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit from 28-30 March 2022. Established in 1997, BIMSTEC is a seven-member regional organisation comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.  BIMSTEC pays significant attention to agriculture and food security, with agriculture included as a stand-alone sector in 2005 in recognition of its importance. Sri Lanka, the lead country for the coordination of activities in the Science, Technology and Innovation Sector, is in the midst of a food crisis even as it plays host. Against this backdrop, this blog discusses food security challenges in the BIMSTEC region, Sri Lanka’s experiences in smart farming, and its expectations from the summit.

Equity in Recovery: Addressing Sri Lanka’s Social Protection and Food Security Needs

Sri Lanka’s social protection and food insecurity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic came into focus at a webinar panel discussion held recently to mark the release of the ‘Sri Lanka: State of Economy 2021’ report, the annual flagship publication of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS). The event featured presentations by Dr Ganga Tilakaratna and Dr Manoj Thibbotuwawa from IPS, along with insights from Prof Udith Jayasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, and Prof Dileni Gunewardena, Professor of Economics, University of Peradeniya. IPS’ Lakshila Wanigasinghe moderated the discussion.

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