Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs: Neglecting the country’s highest export earner

By Nimal Sanderatne

Tea has been Sri Lanka’s highest export earner from the latter part of the nineteenth century and is still the country’s highest domestic value added export earner.

Despite the paramount importance of tea for the economy, the seventy post independent years have been characterized by a neglect of the tea industry. Over the past seven decades the country has lost her preeminent position in global tea production and exports, though it remains among the highest producers and exporters of tea. A new resolve to enhance productivity and increase production of tea to increase exports could be of immense benefit to the economy.

Neglect
High taxation in the past, threats of nationalization, nationalization of tea plantations, mismanagement of state owned plantations and the underfunding of the Tea Research Institute have hampered the tea plantations. The latest blunder was the banning of glyphosate imports that is an essential weedicide in 2015 without a scientific basis.

Achievement
The bright spot in tea has been the development of smallholdings tea cultivation that now accounts for nearly 70 percent of the country’s tea production. The productivity on tea smallholdings is much higher than on the estates. Continue reading

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A future for GMOs in Sri Lanka ; Can Sri Lanka long averse to biotechnology, be fertile soil for GM agriculture?

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Plant Quarantine in Katunayake

Genetically modified organisms are a big story in India. More than 90 percent of India’s cotton crop, which is one of the largest in the world, is genetically modified for pest resistance.

But, nearby Sri Lanka doesn’t have a significant presence of GM crops or GM food at all. In fact, according to available government data, there aren’t any GM crops or products being produced or sold in the island. Many scientists think that changing climatic and economic conditions could make certain GM crops are desirable in the domestic market.That does not mean there couldn’t be in the future, though. Continue reading

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World’s first Climate Change Research Station in Sri Lanka

By Raj Moorthy

Dilmah, the only Sri Lankan tea brand that has established a presence in 100 countries, is setting up the world’s first Climate Research Station at Queensberry Estate in Nawalapitiya.

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New climate change research station

This was revealed by Dilmah Tea CEO and Director Dilhan Fernando during a forum organised by the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC) titled ‘Sri Lanka Inc: Challenges and Opportunities’ held at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo on Monday. (More details of the STBC event will appear next week). Continue reading

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PM’s office announces an on-line management Information System for paddy/rice

Original article

1723976083DI-P04-28-09-(Re)-kwk-1File Photo of farmers planting paddy in waterlogged fields. It has been decided to have an on-line Database System for Paddy/Rice stocks which could then be accessed easily by any official/or member of the public at any time, according to the Prime Minister’s office.

A statement issued by it said: Every year, the government makes an effort to stabilize the price of paddy/rice. But owing to non-availability of comprehensive information success is limited. Establishing a computerized digital MIS system for Paddy/Rice Sector will strengthen that effort and decision makers, relying on this Management Information System (MIS), will be able to take informed decisions as to the quantity of Paddy and Rice available in the country and the actual need to supplement by way of imports. The project will be implemented under the cooperation of several government and private institutes, led by the National Planning Department, with the guidance of the Central Programme Management Unit of the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs of which the Prime Minister is Minister. Continue reading

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New Radical Vision for Sustainable,Innovative Agriculture

30-7-2017 FT (19)

By Rizvi Zaheed

Human civilization is rapidly approaching an unprecedented threshold beyond which lies an exciting yet highly uncertain and volatile age. Many of the assumptions that have formed the basis of complex industrial societies are themselves falling under increased scrutiny. At almost every level, societies are being compelled towards introspection and a careful re-examination of the foundations upon which society rests. Across the globe, individuals, companies, communities and entire nations are seeking out new, more sustainable and more effective methods of building, powering and maintaining, their homes, offices, and cities. Continue reading

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CRI predicts 500 m coconut yield shortage for 2017

Given the challenges faced by the industry with repeated droughts, increased demand for domestic consumption and the felling of coconut trees, the Coconut Research Institute (CRI) forecasts a 450-500 million nut shortfall this year.
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Coconut yield forecast for 2017 (up to August) and Annual National Coconut production in 2016

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Govt. mulls liberalisation of coconut industry to boost exports

By Charumini de Silva

Original article

  • Plantation Industries Minister to obtain Cabinet approval to import fresh kernels for value addition exports 
  • CDA to get promotion agency, possible plans for overseas campaignsIN-216
As a step towards reviving coconut-based value addition and exports, the Government is considering liberalising restrictions on coconut imports, Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said.

“I have taken a bold decision to relax the restriction on the importation of coconuts into Sri Lanka. This is to enable DC (desiccated coconut) millers to import coconut as husked nuts or as fresh kernel. This is only for value addition and export,” Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said at the Sri Lanka Desiccated Coconut Millers Association Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently.
Continue reading

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