ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government aims to set up an ‘Agriculture Logistics Network’ through a public–private partnership (PPP) arrangement to improve the storage and transportation of food, and reduce existing high wastage rates.
The network is among proposals in the coalition government’s ‘Vision 2025’ policy document called 'Country Enriched' launched on Monday by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“We will encourage the private sector to modernise the agriculture sector and introduce efficient and stable modern value chains through models such as trader-farmer contracts, contract grower systems and agriculture mega zones,” it said.
“We will introduce an Agriculture Logistics Network (ALN) through a PPP that incorporates state-of-the-art solutions for storage and transportation, ICT to improve information asymmetries, and real-time monitoring for effectiveness.”
The document said the government will undertake agricultural reforms to minimise food insecurity and create inclusive growth by developing underserved districts.
An estimated 4.7 million of the island’s 20 million people were undernourished in 2015, with high regional disparities in malnutrition, it said. Malnutrition was especially high in the estate sector.
“Government policies have exacerbated food insecurity with ad hoc policy changes in import duties and non-tariff barriers,” it said.
Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector suffers from low productivity that leads to food insecurity and poverty, it said.
Productivity of domestically grown food crops, including rice, has stagnated at unimpressive levels even by developing country standards.
(COLOMBO, Sept 7, 2017)