Lanka green revolution and economic integration
By Sunil Karunanayake
Our columnist discusses the benefits of the economic agreement with
India and says that expanding economic and trade ties with the country’s
neighbour is important and essential for Sri Lanka’s progress.
the increasing trends of trade between India and Sri Lanka it is
fitting that the Central Bank chose the Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Agreement with India (CEPA) as the topic for the recent 24th anniversary
lecture of the Bank’s Centre for Banking Studies.
the same time the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science
(SLAAS) invited respected Indian Scientist Prof M S. Swaminathan
as the chief guest for their annual sessions.
a large economy with long standing cultural and trade ties with
Sri Lanka, India is now on a fast track to become a global industrial
giant as well as a hub for global services by 2015. Our neighbour
growing at 7% is well known for high-income earners and big spenders
and a key supplier of goods and services to the world. The Indian
experience, achievements and growth trends offer many lessons to
Swaminathan has been acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the 20
most influential Asians of the 20th Century along with Mahatma Gandhi
and Rabindranath Tagore. Considered the father of Economic Ecology,
Prof Swaminathan was the chairman of the UN Science Advisory Committee,
Independent Chairman of the FAO council and President of the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. A plant
geneticist Prof Swaminathan’s contribution to the evergreen
revolution has earned him a title of world leader in the field of
was happy that Sri Lanka is now offering many incentives to the
agricultural sector to boost food security in keeping with the ideals
of the evergreen revolution. Emphasizing sustainable food production
as a corner stone for green revolution Prof Swaminathan warns that
intensive cultivation of land without conservation of soil fertility
and soil structure would lead ultimately to the springing up of
deserts, Indiscriminate use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides
could cause adverse changes in biological balance as well as lead
to an increase in the incidence of cancer and other diseases. Pursuing
with an exploitative agriculture without a proper understanding
of the effects of changes introduced into traditional agriculture
may lead us into an era of agricultural disaster in the long run,
rather than to an era of agricultural prosperity. He advocates an
enhancement of productivity perpetuity without associated ecological
or social harm.
agricultural practices, genetic engineering techniques, etc and
the accompanying evergreen revolution has vastly contributed to
the improved food security in India and has enhanced the comparative
food price stability in a country of over one billion people.
Indian experience in sustainable food production and the consequent
evergreen revolution justifies the efforts of the CEPA process to
align with a fast growing economy and reap its economic benefits.
For an island economy like Sri Lanka the size appears as a limitation
in reaping advantages of scale.
Apart from agriculture India has made vast strides in the knowledge
economy, science and information technology to emerge as the back
office for the world accounting million-dollar BPO business portfolio.
process of regional economic cooperation and integration offers
huge opportunities to generate economic surpluses at an unprecedented
This is the only option to move people away from poverty and eradicate
conflicts leading to destruction of human lives and property.
elaborated by two leading economists in the country, Dr. H N Thenuwara
and Dr Saman Kelegama increasing trading and economic relationships
between India and Sri Lanka has brought about an upsurge in trade
and investment in both countries. Big names of India such as Taj,
Indian Oil, Ambuja Cement, Ashok Leyland Apollo, Tata and many others
are active in Sri Lanka. Many Sri Lankan companies like Munchee,
Sierra have established solid bases in India now the fourth largest
foreign investor in Sri Lanka with a total investment of over US$143
CEPA intends to promote this healthy relationship further by attracting
more Indian professionals to Sri Lanka; these include dental surgeons,
lawyers, English teachers (a rare commodity much in demand) and
architects to provide further integration. Today Asia is moving
towards economic prosperity by working together in many ways by
building new alliances and free trade agreements. A smooth new highway
is reported to be coming up to connect Cambodia to Vietnam and the
former forbidding border stations are said to be replaced by new
facilities to welcome visitors and tourists.
bus link between Sri Nagar and Muzzaffabad is a further step in
Indo-Pak integration. It is unfortunate if not tragic that Sri Lankan
leaders have not been able to control the internal strife that has
bled the country for over two decades.