The agricultural policy of Sri Lanka symbolizes far- reaching ‘awareness’ of policy makers on ‘global change’ and ‘sustainability’. Nevertheless, poor social identity of farming communities, adverse environmental externalities and declining profitability depict how agrarian development efforts have fallen short of its goals thus placing sustainability of farming systems in a great jeopardy. Failures visible in the context of aging farm population, youth departure from agriculture, poverty, malnutrition, health issues of pesticide use, poor living condition of farmers, clearing of forests, soil erosion and excessive use of subsidized fertilizers points to ‘awareness’ of policy makers alone is inadequate to translate the policies into sustainable practices.
Therefore providing guidance for policy makers to adopt a ‘systems perspective’ while making them equipped with smart agricultural policy transformation tools is vital for the allocation of resources between sustainable farming options. This collaborative project comprises of comprises of both research and capacity building components. The research component is designed to generate sustainability knowledge and then to construct sustainability indices for selected farming systems operated in the South East Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. The capacity building component aims at dissemination of sustainability knowledge among diverse stakeholders in the agrarian sector of the country while introducing sustainability indices as decision making tools. The study is financed by the Asia-pacific Network for global Change Research and undertaken by the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute with two project collaborators.