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Sri Lankan government unveils ambitious agricultural modernisation programme

Sri Lankan government unveils ambitious agricultural modernisation programme

Daily FT: In a significant move aimed at reinvigorating the agricultural sector, the Government unveiled plans to modernise and transform the industry earmarking a budget of Rs. 650 million.
The Cabinet of Ministers had cleared the implementation of the programme, which aims to revolutionise the agricultural sector by introducing modern techniques and technologies, drawing inspiration from successful models adopted by other countries.
As per the approved proposal, in the first phase Rs. 25 million will be allocated for each Agricultural Modernisation Centre in the selected Divisional Secretariats. Additionally, a sum of Rs. 175 million will be distributed among key departments including Agriculture, Export Agriculture, Animal Production and Health, Cinnamon Development and the Sri Lanka National Aquaculture Development Authority. These centres will serve as hubs for knowledge exchange, training and technology dissemination, empowering local farmers with the tools and resources needed to embrace modern agricultural techniques.
In its initial phase, the programme will kick-start pilot projects in 26 selected Divisional Secretariats spanning across the 25 districts. Subsequently, the second phase will witness the expansion of agricultural modernisation projects to 75 Divisional Secretariats, with three Secretariats earmarked from each district.
“These pilot projects will serve as testing grounds for innovative agricultural practices and technologies, paving the way for broader implementation in subsequent phases,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing.
He also said the primary focus of the programme is to modernise the agricultural practices, leveraging state-of-the-art technology and contemporary knowledge. Drawing insights from global examples of agricultural transformation, the initiative aims to enhance productivity and efficiency across the sector.
A total of Rs. 2.5 billion from the 2024 Budget has been allocated for strengthening agriculture and fisheries modernisation boards. These funds will be utilised to establish Agriculture Modernisation Centres and roll out the program countrywide. The multifaceted initiative will be implemented through strategic short, medium and long-term plans aimed at modernising agricultural practices and enhancing productivity.
“The Government aims to unleash the full potential of its agricultural sector, paving the way for sustainable development, increased productivity and enhanced livelihoods for farming communities across the country,” Gunawardena added.
The proposal to this effect submitted by President Ranil Wickremsinghe was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka’s agriculture industry has become a hotspot for business/investment opportunities given the growth in demand for food crops as well as export crops. The move by Sri Lanka to expand its export crop product portfolio has resulted in new opportunities while the demand for food crops has opened up opportunities in technical, knowledge and product supplies. The machinisation programme has also presented opportunities for foreign businesses engaged in the agriculture business to explore opportunities. With Sri Lanka on an economically growth path with expanding economic activities, the growing business potential in Sri Lanka’s agriculture industry could be explored by foreign businesses/investors.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20240313/Z_4

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