Sri Lanka Seed Industry News

This page features a compilation and selection of Sri Lanka seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in Sri Lanka

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.


 

2024 News

‚ÄčEmpowering Farmers with Renewable Energy: February 16: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Government of Japan, has initiated a transformative project in Sri Lanka's Northwestern Province. Part of a broader $23.6 million effort funded by Japan, this initiative is designed to revolutionize smallholder farming by incorporating renewable energy technologies. Launched on February 16, 2024, it aims to empower around 20,000 farmers towards achieving food and energy security, while promoting sustainable farming and income practices. Key to this project is the provision of solar-powered equipment to 49 farmer organizations, including a pioneering 5-ton solar-powered cool room to reduce post-harvest losses. This endeavor not only seeks to lessen reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change effects but also fosters economic resilience and environmental stewardship among farming communities. More details here

Sri Lanka Achieves Rice Self-Sufficiency: January 31: Minister Mahinda Amaraweera of the Agriculture and Plantation Industry recently announced Sri Lanka's self-sufficiency in rice production for 2024, thus negating the necessity for imports. He highlighted that substantial financial investments in fertilizer subsidies and the government's direct procurement of paddy from farmers were key factors leading to this significant achievement. More details here

 

2023 News

Q3

Sri Lanka urged to revitalize crop cultivation for the global market: August 29: Sri Lanka has received a resounding call from food and beverage experts to rejuvenate its crop cultivation efforts, positioning itself as a strong global player while boosting market access and earnings. This imperative transformation was highlighted at the National Food and Beverage Conference 2023, which united industry specialists, policymakers, and stakeholders to strategize on leveraging the international potential of Sri Lanka's unique produce. Hosted by the Industrial Development Board (IDB) in conjunction with the Industries Ministry and UNIDO's BESPA-FOOD Project funded by the EU, the conference rallied for the advancement of Sri Lanka's food and beverage sector. Discussions revolved around strategies to escalate production and exports, aligning industrial direction with global demands. Source, and source.

 

Q2

EU and FAO Support Modernization of Rice Cultivation: April 23: The European Union and the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization are supporting a project to modernize rice cultivation in Sri Lanka. The project is aimed at 71,000 smallholder paddy farmers and 1,200 paddy seed farmers across seven districts that recently experienced economic crisis including Polonnaruwa, Badulla, Ampara, Matale, Puttalam, Kurunegala and Hambantota districts. Alongside training and materials to improve cultivation methods, farmers will receive locally produced high-quality paddy seeds and support to increase efficiency and profitability. Recipients will also attend farmer-field schools to learn modern techniques such as the Integrated Plant Nutrient Management (IPNM) strategy. The program aims to promote a transition to greener and climate-smart agriculture, while improving production to prevent immediate food shortages, but also contribute towards a transition to a more sustainable and resilient agriculture sector in the future. Eligible paddy farmers cultivating up to 0.5 hectares of land will receive 50 kg urea fertilizer and necessary tools to enhance efficiency of fertilizer use. Crop failures during recent harvesting seasons due to shortages of fertilizer and vital inputs, have posed many challenges for smallholder paddy farmers to sustain their livelihoods. The program has already handed over 3,820 tonnes of urea fertilizer to the Ministry of Agriculture for distribution to selected farmers and will support farmers to grow quality paddy seeds and strengthen government owned farms in growing and processing certified paddy seeds. Source

2022 News

Q3 News

Standing paddy stunted due to lack of fertilizer, yields plummet: August 17: Rice crop throughout most of the major growing belt of Sri Lanka is stunted for the second successive season due to deficiency of fertilizer, “In 10,900 hectares of land under cultivation in Kilinochchi, the average yield is likely to hit 2.3 metric tons per hectare . . . In previous years, paddy fields in the area delivered around 4.5 metric tons per hectare.” According to government data, 2 million people in the country are rice farmers. The World Food Programme estimates that about 6.7 million Sri Lankans out of a population of 22 million are not eating enough. Source.

Indian urea suitable for crop cultivation: July 12: The Sri Lankan government has confirmed that urea supplies from India will be suitable for the cultivation of paddy and other crops. A total of 44,000 tonnes of urea was imported from India to alleviate shortages in the crisis-hit country, which anticipates food shortages by mid-August. The initial consignment is part of 65,000 tonnes  Indian loan assistance program pledged since May. The urea will be distributed to agricultural service centers across the island by Ceylon Commercial Fertiliser Company. A controversial decision by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last year to ban chemical fertiliser imports is being blamed for a food shortage and crop losses. Sri Lanka's total foreign debt reportedly stands at US$  51 billion. Source.


Q2 News

Officials granted one work day week for agriculture: June 13: Among decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on June 13 was a policy to encourage public officials to engage in agriculture and cultivation by granting government officials leave for one working day of the week and provide them with the necessary facilities to engage in agricultural activities in their backyards or elsewhere as a solution to the food shortage that is anticipated in the near future. The proposal, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, is to close all

government institutions except agencies providing essential services on Fridays for the next three months. Source. See also details about Sri Lanka’s current economic spiral, including relevant factors related to food, energy and geopolitical situations affecting supply chains. Source.