Sri Lanka: Budget 2019 - Agriculture & Irrigation

Rs. 152 billion has been allocated for agriculture (Rs. 87 billion) and irrigation (Rs. 65 billion) – this includes expenditure on fisheries and livestocks sectors under agriculture.

The key priorities in agriculture are improvements of access to markets and value chains, shifting towards higher value crops, reducing post harvest losses and improving storage, supporting investments in climate resistance, and enhancing access to finance to support technological investments.

In agriculture the government recognizes the value of connecting small farmers into larger value chains to ensure a market for higher value agri products. Rs. 250 million has been allocated in the budget proposals to support small farmers to obtain the technology and know-how to shift to higher value crops whilst connecting these farmers with larger companies who will buy the end products for export or domestic markets.

Poor storage and wastage results in significant loss of agricultural productivity and erodes farmer incomes. The government will invest in the hard infrastructure to set up climate controlled warehouses, which the private sector will be invited to manage and operate. Pure private investment in such operations is also encouraged by removing upfront costs of such investments.

Overall, Rs. 1.7 billion has been allocated for agriculture sector modernization programmes which will result in improved technology, connectivity to markets, and agricultural infrastructure.

Given the increased risks associated with climate change and natural disasters, the government is allocating Rs. 1.5 billion for farmer insurance.

Enterprise Sri Lanka loan schemes are extended to the agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sector including the Ran Aswenna loan and the GoviNavodya loan schemes.

Rs. 1.3 billion is allocated for development and rehabilitation of fisheries harbours. Two new harbours will be established at Point Pedro and Pesalai and a new anchorage will be established in Mandathivu.

The government will bear 50% of the investment cost of installing better fish storage facilities on board multi-day vessels through RSW and CSW chilling systems, and also for equipment used for vessel monitoring, and safety systems. Rs. 300 million is allocated.

Investments in irrigation include the moragahakanda-Kaluganga project (Rs. 12 billion), Uma Oya diversion project (Rs. 7.3 billion), Yan Oya Project (Rs. 4.5 billion).

Several other programmes are funded to address priority areas such as irrigation for climate resistance (Rs. 7.3 billion), minor irrigation systems (Rs. 2.9 billion), and the overall water resources development investment programme (Rs. 9.7 billion)

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