Call to make agriculture sector more attractive
by Gamini Warushamana
The agricultural sector should be modernised to increase income and make
the sector more attractive for the new generation, experts say analysing
recent findings of a survey.
The agricultural sector is backward compared to other sectors and less
than one percent of young people take to agriculture.
The agricultural sector share to the GDP is 18% compared to the service
sector which is 56% and industries 26%.
The average monthly income of housholds in the agricultural sector is
Rs.4,449 and is less than half of the service sector income (Rs.9,846) and
only 60% of the industrial sector income (Rs.7,313). The underemployment
rate in the agricultural sector is also the highest in all three sectors and
stood at 33% compared to 18% in service and 20% in industries.
The employment share in the agricultural sector is 33% compared to 41% in
the service and 26% in industries.
The final report of the eighth Consumer Finance and Socio Economic Survey
of the Central Bank (CB) published last week highlighted the trends in many
fields of the socio economic development in the country.
The urban rural disparity contribution to the economy is also highlighted
in the survey findings. All other provinces are far behind the Western
Province (WP) and the Uva Province (UP) is the most backward in terms of the
share of GDP, employment, underemployment and the average household monthly
income. WP share to the GDP is 45% while in other provinces it is 3-10% and
UP 4%. WP contributes 28% to employment while other provinces contribute
2-13% and UP 7%.
The underemployment in UP is the highest and stood at 24%, while it is
16% in WP and other provinces 19-29%. The average houshold's monthly income
of WP is Rs.25,602, more than double that of the UP (Rs. 11,178) and in the
other provinces it is Rs.11,178-Rs.15,792.
The hard facts of demographic information revealed by the National Census
in 2001 have been reflected again by the survey report. The population is
aging and the number of problems as well as new opportunities in business
are emerging through these developments.
Policy makers should take into account the demographic information and
find ways and means to deal with the high dependence rate in the future.
Opportunities are available in new retirement schemes, adults accounts and
adult care, said Dr. Anila Dias Bandaranayake presenting the survey report.
In all sectors over 50% of households are spending money on tuition or
private education. The second largest expenditure component of households is
education and is only second to food.
The higher expenditure on education emphasises the need to ensure the
quality of the public education system.
In the health care sector too the trend to seek private services is on
the increase, the survey revealed. Dr. Bandaranayake said that poor
communities in urban areas have options and non urban sectors too need them.
The quality of state health services should improve and preventive health