Towards Phosphorus and Climate Smart Agriculture in Sri Lanka

Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS
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2017, pp. 1 - 79
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Two of the biggest global challenges for food security – phosphorus scarcity and climate change – are threatening farmers’ livelihoods, agricultural productivity and environmental health. Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector is comprised largely of smallholder farmers, where rainfed rice is often a staple of the diet. Climate change projections indicate rice yields could drop by 40%, affecting the majority of farmers and increasing poverty levels by up to a third. At the same time, fertiliser subsidies, which represent 2% of government spending, are currently being scaled back in a country that is dependent on fertiliser imports. This exposes farmers to future price fluctuations like the 800% phosphate fertiliser price spike that occurred in 2008. The goal of this collaborative research project is to contribute to building food system resilience to climate change and phosphorus scarcity in Sri Lanka, through adaptations from farm-scale through to policy-making. This report presents the first phase of the project investigating the capacity of smallholder farmers, policy-makers, industry and other food system stakeholders in Sri Lanka to adapt to these twin challenges, via a participatory, integrated, rapid vulnerability assessment framework.
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