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Strategies to address the National Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in the context of changing Climate and Global Trade Rules.


M. Y. Zainudeen

National Water Supply & Drainage Board, LK
About M. Y.

Chief Engineer Budget, Greater Kandy Water Supply Project

PG Dip. (Eng.), MSc (Eng), C Eng., I Eng., FIESL, FIIESL

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Food security has been a major area (social & political) of concern of all the Governments, in the island's history, especially after World War II in order to protect the masses from food shortages and starvation. Unprecedented population explosion, technological and industrial development and the ever changing climatic and environmental conditions have had a greater influence in human needs and their life style; creating new dimensions on food security, during the last half century. Considering the vitality of this subject many International agencies have been established in the post war era to take care of this sector. Accordingly, Governments and Funding Agencies have made heavy investment to increase food production (irrigation infrastructure and agricultural research & extension sectors) in the third world since 1960's and the significant productivity gains in the food production process, realized over the last two decades, has been able to protect the masses from starvation.

In Sri Lanka too, large measures were taken to address this issue since 1930's by restoring the abundant ancient irrigation infrastructure. Large investments made in restoring and rehabilitating the irrigation systems in the intermediate and dry zones during the post independence era and the subsequent investment on the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme (AMDP) have resulted in increased food production and reduced the food shortage and poverty to a considerable extent during the last 2-3 decades. This reflects the success of the strategies that were implemented by successive Governments, during the last half a century. However, the current situation in Sri Lanka is that there is hardly any scope for construction of large-scale irrigation schemes and/or expansion of the existing irrigation schemes, and the output growth in the agricultural sector is stagnated.

 Population growth, land and water resources, climatic and environmental conditions and the rising demand for water in other sectors are the major issues connected to food security, while the changes in political and economic conditions of the country as well as that are in the neighboring countries play the governing role. These factors have to be viewed and analyzed collectively in a single framework in developing strategies to address food security. Improved rural infrastructure (roads, transport, market, electricity, communication), improved irrigation and farming technology, and appropriate, site-specific and farming practices could underpin the success of the strategies for food security. The legislative enactments, trade agreements, management models and the institutional arrangements play key roles in managing and harnessing the former in order to accrue the anticipated results, to provide an improved living condition for all in a sustainable manner.

It is intended to examine, in this paper, the role played by the key elements that are underlying the food security concept, future scenarios of this sector and the most appropriate strategies that are to be developed to address the food security in the next 2-3 decades

How to Cite: Zainudeen, M.Y., 2005. Strategies to address the National Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in the context of changing Climate and Global Trade Rules.. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 38(2), pp.52–61. DOI:
Published on 20 Apr 2005.
Peer Reviewed


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