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Sri Lanka Table of Contents

Sri Lanka



Figure 7. Accelerated Mahaweli Program, 1988

Source: Based on information from Asoka Bandarage, "Women and Capitalist Development in Sri Lanka, 1977-87," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 20, April-June 1988, 58; and (Democratic Socialist Republic of) Sri Lanka, Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, Mahaweli Saga, Challenge and Response, Colombo, 1985, 55.


Figure 8. Agriculture and Land Use, 1988

Source: Based on information from "Agro-Bio-Environmental Chart of Sri Lanka," Tokyo: Resources Council, Science and Technology Agency, 1977.


Gemstone prospector near Ratnapura
Courtesy Paige W. Thompson

Agriculture--including forestry and fishing--accounted for over 46 percent of exports, over 40 percent of the labor force, and around 28 percent of the GNP in 1986. The dominant crops were paddy, tea, rubber, and coconut. In the late 1980s, the government-sponsored Accelerated Mahaweli Program irrigation project opened a large amount of new land for paddy cultivation in the dry zone of the eastern part of the island (see fig. 7). In contrast, the amount of land devoted to tea, coconut, and rubber remained stable in the forty years after independence. Land reforms implemented in the 1970s affected mainly these three crops. Little land was distributed to small farmers; instead it was assumed by various government agencies. As a result, most tea and a substantial proportion of rubber production was placed under direct state control.

Data as of October 1988