(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – On the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, the High Commission of India organized an online bilateral interaction on 01 July 2021 in which India’s success stories in organic agriculture was shared. High Commissioner of India H.E Mr. Gopal Baglay gave the keynote address at the event. Other speakers included Hon. Dr. Seetha Arambepola, State Minister for Skill Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation and Minister of State for Agriculture Hon. Mr. Shasheendra Rajapaksa.
The High Commissioner of India said that India would be happy to collaborate with Sri Lanka in its transition towards organic agriculture by providing capacity building training, sharing technical know-how, organizing exchange visits of experts and through research collaboration among institutions involved in organic farming. He also called for utilizing the vast Indian experience in this area for achieving food security for the people of Sri Lanka and suggested setting up an ‘Organic Centre of Excellence’ in Sri Lanka with Indian assistance. He asked biofertilizer companies of both sides to explore prospects of forming Joint Ventures for manufacturing of biofertilizers in Sri Lanka.
Hon. Minister Dr. Seetha Arambepola called for greater interaction and collaboration from both sides in various aspects of organic agriculture. Highlighting the need of the Government of Sri Lanka to switch over to 100 percent Organic agriculture, Hon. Minister Mr. Shasheendra Rajapaksa expressed hope that India’s capabilities and expertise in the field would be beneficial to Sri Lanka. Appreciating the lead role taken by the High Commission in organizing such an interaction, the Ministers requested the High Commission to organize more such interactions in the future.
Dr. S. Anbalagan, CEO of Sikkim Organic Farming Development Agency shared strategies employed by Sikkim towards its successful transformation as the first State in the world to adopt 100 percent organic agriculture in 2016. Dr. Shiva Dhar, Principal Scientist, ICAR-Indian Agriculture Research Institute shared valuable insights on plants nutrient management for organic farming.
Commercial interaction during the session comprised representation from Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of Indian Industries, and biofertilizer manufacturing firms from both countries.
Dr. Sushil Kumar, Head of Technical Cooperation, highlighted that agriculture is a vital component of India-Sri Lanka multi-dimensional bilateral partnership and agreed to facilitate more such interactions in specific areas such as bio-herbicides, bio-pesticides, compost enrichment technology and explore the possibility of strengthening institutional collaborations between the two countries in agriculture and allied fields.