Workshop on Agriculture and Climate Change: Analytical Methods and Policy Communication

15 – 16 February 2024

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research, Capacity, and Influence (PRCI), and the Comprehensive Action for Climate Change Initiative (CACCI), organised a two-day Workshop on Agriculture and Climate Change from 15-16 February 2024, at the Second-floor conference room, IPS.

The workshop aimed to explore climate change’s impact on Sri Lankan agricultural value chains and strategies for effective policy communication. Dr Suresh Babu, Head of Capacity Strengthening at IFPRI, led the training sessions on both days.

His first training session focused on Climate Change Policy Analysis, highlighting concepts, issues, and emerging methods. On the second day, Dr Suresh Babu delved into Policy Communication, emphasising the translation of policy research into actionable initiatives and the need for strategic communication approaches among policy researchers. He urged researchers to become policy entrepreneurs, stressing that influencing policy and effecting change on the ground is not just a job but a responsibility.

Key Highlights from the two-day Workshop:

  • IPS Executive Director, Dr Dushni Weerakoon inaugurated the workshop, highlighting the significance of the PRCI research collaboration, now entering its fourth year, in supporting IPS researchers. She underscored the interconnected nature of IPS’ work on climate change and food policy, expanding into thematic areas such as health, macroeconomics, migration, and others.
  • IPS Research Fellow Dr Manoj Thibbotuwawa discussed Strengthening Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Communities in Sri Lanka, shedding light on the intricate relationships between climate patterns and the agricultural sector and the impact of these changes on farmers and the challenges they face in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.
  • IPS Research Economist Dr Pulasthi Amarasinghe presented results from secondary data analysis of a study focusing on the impact of precipitation distribution and variability on livelihoods and food security in rural Sri Lanka. He also discussed the repercussions of climate change on agricultural employment, a topic that resonated strongly with the participants.
  • Dr Suresh Babu highlighted the relevance of policy implications derived from the collaboration for Sri Lanka’s policymaking in food agriculture and resource sustainability sectors. He emphasised the transition towards climate-resilient agriculture and climate-smart agriculture, where the collaboration aims to integrate climate change policies into its second phase of activities.
  • IPS Research Fellow Dr Asanka Wijesinghe explored ‘South Asia’s Global Value Chain Participation in Agriculture,’ discussing how trade policies impact global value chain participation.
  • Ms Sachini Niwarthana discussed ‘The Fertilizer Ban and Its Implications on Paddy Farmers,’ exploring the challenges posed by the recent fertilizer ban on paddy farmers, drawing on findings from a conducted value chain analysis. She also delved into farmer perceptions and explored the relationship between farmer productivity, income, and food security during the 2021/22 Maha season in light of the fertilizer ban.

The workshop aimed to enhance the capacity of researchers involved in policy-related research and foster career progression in disciplines such as food security and climate change. It also sought to break down barriers in policy communication, with the participation of over 50 attendees representing diverse institutes and universities, including the University of Peradeniya, University of Colombo, University of Jayawardenapura, Wayamba University, Sabaragamuwa University, Uva Wellassa University, along with participants from HARTI and CEPA.