On the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, the High Commission of India organised an online bilateral interaction on 1 July during which India’s success stories in organic agriculture were shared.
High Commissioner of India Gopal Baglay gave the keynote address at the event. Other speakers included State Minister for Skill Development, Vocational Education, Research and Innovation Dr. Seetha Arambepola and Minister of State for Agriculture 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, organising exchange visits of experts and through research collaboration among institutions involved in organic farming.
He also called for utilising 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 biofertiliser companies of both sides to explore prospects of forming Joint Ventures for manufacturing of biofertilisers in Sri Lanka.
State Minister 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% organic agriculture, State Minister 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 organising such an interaction, the Ministers requested the High Commission to organise more such interactions in the future.
Sikkim Organic Farming Development Agency CEO Dr. S. Anbalagan shared strategies employed by Sikkim towards its successful transformation as the first State in the world to adopt 100% 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 biofertiliser manufacturing firms from both countries.
Head of Technical Cooperation Dr. Sushil Kumar 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.