Sri Lanka’s food systems revolve around the production of rice as a main staple crop. In addition, fruits and vegetables, grains, meat, fish, and dairy are also important sources of food security. 27.1% of the country's total population engages in agricultural activities, and agriculture accounted for 7.4% of total GDP in 2020.
Agricultural practices in Sri Lanka are mostly centered on rural areas, with nearly three quarters of Sri Lankan families depending on rural livelihoods such as crop cultivation and livestock raising, which are linked to income generation, food security, and social status.The dry zone districts of Anuradhapura (marked in brown) and Trincomalee (marked in green) in Sri Lanka's North Central and Eastern province are home to almost 1.4 million people, 6.3% of the country's total population. Together, these districts provide close to one fifth of Sri Lanka's total paddy production as well as a range of other field crops, fruits, and vegetables.
The information in this brief is based on a survey, group meetings, and individual follow-up interviews conducted by SLYCAN Trust in Anuradhapura and Trincomalee in 2020-2022. In total, close to 600 farmers, local supply chain actors, and women and youth from farming communities were engaged across four selected DS divisions. Findings from this process were further supplemented from SLYCAN Trust's continued work with farming communities in these districts, which has taken place since 2018, as well as input from national and local government officials, experts, researchers, and practitioners.