Press release issued by the Academics’ Movement to Safeguard Agriculture (AMSA) Sri Lanka regarding the present crisis in the Agriculture Sector
Posted on May 12th, 2022

The Academics’ Movement to Safeguard Agriculture (AMSA) in Sri Lanka

The Academics’ Movement to Safeguard Agriculture (AMSA) in Sri Lanka expresses grave concern about the potential impact of the current national crisis on the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka. First, we vehemently condemn the brutal assault launched against the peaceful protesters in front of Galle Face and Temple Trees, and the detrimental chain reactions emanated from it.

We are at a crucial stage of the Yala season of 2022 where crop establishment is severely constrained by shortages of fuel, fertilizer and other essential inputs. The current crisis has brought to a standstill almost all activities in the value chain of production, processing, transport and marketing of agricultural produce. These include food for the local population and export-oriented products which bring-in valuable foreign exchange. 

Future repercussions of the present state of inactivity are alarming. Failure of the current Yala season will not only create substantial and widespread shortages of essential food items (rice, pulses, vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, etc.), but also cause a shortage of seed paddy for the next Maha season of 2022/2023. In view of the fact that the Maha season produces two-thirds of the national paddy production, potential impacts of its failure on the national food security and social stability are wide-ranging and severe. The current status of foreign exchange reserves means that the country will not have the capacity to compensate for the impeding shortfall in national food production by food imports.

As such, AMSA urges the President and the Legislature to urgently take measures necessary to resolve the current impasse in national-level administration and governance to enable resumption of activities across the whole value chain of the Sri Lankan agriculture sector, for both local consumption and export. We urge the new administration that will, hopefully, come into operation to accord a high priority to ensuring a reasonably adequate supply of essential agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer and fuel, and restoring farmer confidence to engage in agricultural production.  We urge the officials of the mandated governmental institutions and agencies to facilitate a fair distribution of limited agricultural inputs and provide advice to farmers, via the agricultural extension network, on technologies to achieve the maximum possible productivity with the limited amount of inputs available. We urge the general public to fully-support all agriculture, food and export-oriented crop production activities, to increase export earnings, to reduce food wastage, and to engage in home gardening where possible. We also request everyone to refrain from any activities causing destruction to infrastructure, both public- and private-owned, particularly used in agricultural production. 

The AMSA as a group of academics in the field of agriculture are prepared to fully-support all above activities by lending our expertise in different disciplines of agriculture on the basis of proven and valid scientific principles.

Names of Signatories, on behalf of the AMSA-Sri Lanka:

Senior Professor Buddhi MarambeFaculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya  
Senior Professor Janendra de CostaFaculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya  
Professor Devika de CostaFaculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya  
Senior Professor Aruna Kumara  Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna  
Professor T. SivananthawerlFaculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya  
Professor Saman DharmakirthiFaculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya  
Professor Nalika RanathungeFaculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna  
Professor Warshi DandeniyaFaculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya  
Professor Nilantha LiyanageFaculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna  
Professor Ewon KalidasaFaculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture, Uwa Wellassa University
Professor Gangani SamaraweeraFaculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna  
Dr. Pradeep Gajanayaka  Faculty of Technology, University of Sri Jayewerdenepura

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