Climate change hits SL coconut plantations

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Sri Lanka’s contribution to global warming was negligible but it was severely affected by the impacts of climate change, Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said.

Addressing the inaugural session of International Conference under the theme, "Climate Change Impact and Adoption for Food and Environmental Security" at the Renuka Hotel on Tuesday Minister Pushpakumara said that the coconut plantations in the Intermediate dry zones had suffered substantially with significant losses in output in Puttalam and Kurunegala districts in the coconut triangle due to the severe and prolonged drought that prevailed last year.

"Compared to other sectors agriculture, including plantations is highly dependent on specific climate conditions during specific seasons. Not only could the temperature but also the increased frequency and severity of droughts and floods pose serious challenge to farmers," the Minister said.

He also added that though it was argued that the increase of temperature and carbon dioxide could be beneficial for some crops, it had adversely affected most crops in the tropical region.

Pushpakumara noted that currently it was necessary to focus on specific climate change impacts on the diverse sectors of agriculture.

The International Conference was organised by the Coconut Research Institute in collaboration with the Environment and Renewable Energy Ministry and the Regional office of the World Agroforestry Centre, New Delhi, India.

The conference was held to highlight the key concerns for addressing the impact of climate change on Sri Lanka to the policy makers, Climate change experts, researchers and general public to help to cope up with the disasters that climate change might bring.

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