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This article gives a brief overview of the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka.
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Agriculture Sector in Sri Lanka

The agriculture sector is the cornerstone in Sri Lanka's economy with more than 70% of the population living in rural areas depending on agriculture for their livelihoods. Currently this sector contributes to about 18% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 30% of the employment. The agricultural productivity has remained relatively stable, except for rice which has reached near self sufficiency in the recent years.
However, the growth in this sector has been sluggish. Rapid agricultural productivity growth is fundamental for reducing poverty in Sri Lanka as nearly 90 per cent of the poor live in the rural agricultural economy. Therefore, rapid development in food production while protecting the environment, water resources, and bio-diversity needs to be given high priority in the development strategies. This includes removal of existing policy and regulatory constraints which have stifled growth in the agricultural sector.
Fragmented land use, insufficient availability of water, credit, seed, technical know-how, technology, marketing, storage and transportation, poor farming practices continue to weaken productivity in agriculture. Short to medium term priorities include adopting policies to facilitate farmer access to wider markets and improved technologies, creating a stable trade policy regime with required safeguards and developing a regionally equitable infrastructure development strategy for rural development.

Agriculture Policy in Sri Lanka
Goals and Objectives
  • Increase domestic agricultural production to ensure food and nutrition security of the nation.
  • Enhance agricultural productivity and ensure sustainable growth.
  • Maximize benefits and minimize adverse effects of globalization on domestic and export agriculture.
  • Adopt productive farming systems and improved agro-technologies with a view to reduce the unit cost of production and increase profits.
  • Adoption of technologies in farming that is environmentally friendly and harmless to health.
  • Promote agro-based industries and increase employment opportunities.
  • Enhance the income and the living standard of farming community.
Promoting Agricultural Production
The Government aims to promote agricultural production by implementing technically sound, economically viable, environmental friendly and socially acceptable programmes to promote sustainable agricultural development with efficient and effective utilization of resources. The major points of the policy are:
  • Increase local food supply, employment opportunities and agricultural exports by emphasizing on cultivation of rice and other field crops, horticultural and floricultural crops, roots and tuberous crops, export agricultural crops, herbal crops, other underutilized crops and bee-keeping as well as supplementary food crops such as sugar cane, cashew and coconut.
  • Increase productivity of water and land by enhancing crop production through the application of sustainable cultivation practices.
  • Promote good agricultural practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Integrated Plant Nutrition Management (IPNM), for sustainable agricultural development.
  • Promoting income generation from integrated agriculture through livestock and aquaculture.
  • Formulation of production plans that will cater to the market needs and nutritional requirements.
  • Cultivation of crops based on agro-climatic conditions and promoting agro-based industries.
  • Introduce improved and modern technologies to the village whenever and wherever possible.

Last Updated on: 17-05-2010

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