SL needs fundamental mindset transformation towards agriculture: CB Chief

Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal

  • Says general perception of farmers and fishermen are ‘poor or piteous’
  • Points to agriculture as significant contributor to GDP, recognised as thrust sector
  • Calls on experts to find new ways to step up agriculture, dairy and fisheries exports
  • Asserts healthy dialogues could help to fashion policies to develop sectors

Sri Lanka should uproot the “poor and petty” mindset often referred to the agriculture sector and people engaged in the industry, to embed the entrepreneurial streak, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said.

Speaking at the ‘Knock Knock 2022: The Doorway to Success’ forum organized by the Daily FT and Colombo University MBA Alumni Association on Tuesday, he said Sri Lanka needs to have a structural change in the mindset of the agriculture industry.

“We often refer to fishermen or farmers, as poor fishermen and small farmers. When referring to the dairy farmers, it is always with a piteous mindset.

“This is the attitude we have towards them. In case, one refers to the farmers or fishermen ‘rich’, we often ponder whether they are into some other business,” Cabraal explained.

He also said that in developed countries a lot of wealthy people are engaged in the agriculture and fisheries industries. Accordingly, they own multi-day boats, farming machinery and equipment whilst engaging in the corporate world as entrepreneurs.

“By and large, we are comfortable in thinking that fishermen and farmers should be poor. But I think a fundamental transformation in the mindset is necessary to advance the industries,” Cabraal said.

The Governor also said that agriculture has been a significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and has been recognised as a thrust sector for development.

Acknowledging the timely topic, he called on the many experts gathered to find new ways to step up agriculture, dairy and fisheries exports.

“Despite being an island, we still import fisheries products. This is something to ponder and find new avenues to increase yield and exports with value additions,” he said.

In addition, the Central Bank Chief said the healthy dialogues of the forums could help fashion policies to develop these sectors.


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