OPA technical sessions discussion urges proper intervention in agriculture sector

Friday, 26 September 2014 01:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Waruni Paranagamage Experts in a range of fields, speaking at the technical sessions of the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA), highlighted the need for private and public sector partnership and Government policy intervention in the agriculture sector in order to achieve proper access to food and poverty eradication targets in Sri Lanka. The sessions were held on wednesday at the Hotel Galadari Hotel as part of the OPA’s 27th annual conference titled ‘Role of Agriculture in Food Sovereignty and Poverty Eradication’. The first session discussed improving the quality, quantity and availability of seeds and planting materials, efficient management of pest and diseases and improvement of soil productivity. The second session focused on the efficient use of water in crop production, the improvement of efficiency in harvesting and minimising post-harvest losses and value addition to agriculture produce. The panellists emphasised the need for smart seeds which can cope with weather and soil conditions in the country. The experts also discussed the significance of developing different varieties of crops, various delivery methods, farmers and their production system and the national seed policy. Chemical usage and soil erosion, sustainable land usage and soil management and crop management were topics touched upon when the conversation moved towards sustainable agriculture. The third session paid attention to social factors influencing agricultural productivity and growth in Sri Lanka and the problem of poverty alleviation, efficient marketing of agricultural produce and increasing exports and agricultural research. Food safety and urban agriculture were discussed in the fourth session. The technical session stressed the problem of poor access to food due to post-harvest losses in the world and suggested infrastructure and research development to solve the issue. They explained the importance of developing micro irrigation and biochemical fertilizer for environmentally- friendly agriculture. They said that developing urban agriculture would support food access, poverty eradication and a healthier lifestyle. The technical sessions were conducted by the eminent panellists including directors, professors and consultants in agriculture and biology, water management, economics and agriculture marketing.