Economic and Policy Analysis of Climate Change

Sri Lanka

Rice is the single most important crop in Sri Lanka, occupying 34 percent of the total cultivated area, involving 1.8 million family farming, and providing 45% of total calories consumed by an average Sri Lankan.

Due to its importance in the diets and livelihoods of most Sri Lankans, national rice self-sufficiency is a key agricultural policy objective for the Government of Sri Lanka.

This objective is pursued through a range of policies to stimulate paddy production, including providing guaranteed farm gate and retail prices through the government’s Paddy Marketing Board, mandating paddy production on irrigated land, and providing input subsidy support to rice producers.

These efforts have allowed the rice production to satisfy around 95 percent of the domestic requirement during the last decade. However, recently the achievement of the self-sufficiency goal is threatened by widespread and recurrent droughts, which have led to severe water shortages in many rice growing areas. 

This has intensified interest in identifying strategies to enhance the climate resilience of paddy farmers. 

EPIC research activities

1. In partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka, EPIC is collecting household data from rice farmers in Anuradhapura District. Analysis of this data will help develop the evidence base on the drivers and impacts of climate-smart agriculture practices among paddy farmers. For example

  • Understanding the adoption of sustainable intensification of rice production practices.
  • Alternative wetting and drying, improve transplanting practices.
  • Crop diversification.

2. The EPIC team are engaging with policy makers at district and national level to identify policies and policy reforms to enhance the productivity and climate resilience of paddy production in Sri Lanka.