Sri Lanka’s agricultural exports revival for economic turnaround
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): The government is to implement plans to restructure and modernize existing agricultural research institutes including the establishment of the Agro-Technology University of Sri Lanka. This institution aims to support extension services and further innovation in the sector.
President Ranil Wickremasinghe outlined a multi-pronged approach to agricultural development, targeting both small and large-scale farmers.
He stressed the importance of providing financial support for smallholders to embrace agro-technology, aiming to enhance productivity.
Additionally, plans were revealed to grant freehold status to individuals holding land development permits, fostering a sense of ownership and incentivizing further development.
In a bid to create opportunities for large-scale agriculture, President Wickremesinghe announced the allocation of previously undeveloped areas, including portions of the Mahaweli scheme and lands owned by government plantation corporations, for agricultural purposes.
President Wickremesinghe positioned the revival of Sri Lanka’s agricultural exports as a requirement for the nation’s economic turnaround.
By combining support for smallholders, large-scale agricultural initiatives and strategic planning for export diversification, the President set forth a comprehensive vision aimed at harnessing Sri Lanka’s rich agricultural legacy for a prosperous future.
The ambitious plans outlined by President Ranil Wickremesinghe signal a pivotal moment for Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector, offering a roadmap for economic revitalization and a renewed focus on export-driven growth.
This strategic move is expected to bring approximately 300,000 acres of land under cultivation within the next few years, requiring significant capital investment.
To ensure the success of these initiatives, President Wickremesinghe emphasized the need for extension services, collaboration with the private sector and the establishment of an agro-technology university.
He outlined plans to review the performance of regional plantation companies and shift towards contract farming in the tea and rubber sectors.
Turning to broader economic challenges, President Wickremesinghe acknowledged the country’s lack of growth and opportunities over the past two years.
He attributed these issues to a historical imbalance in the trade and emphasized the critical need to address the budget deficit and balance of trade and highlighted the urgency of increasing exports.
The President elaborated on measures to improve the country’s fiscal situation and the availability of funds for small and medium industries affected by the economic crisis.
In a global context, President Wickremesinghe acknowledged the challenges posed by international competitors such as China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in the export-oriented industries.
Despite this, he stressed the urgency of the current export drive, emphasizing the need to secure the country’s future and prevent further brain drain.
President Wickremesinghe reiterated Sri Lanka’s historical strength as an exporter of agricultural goods.