The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Australian Government-funded Market Development Facility (MDF) will host a series of events titled, ‘The Business Case for Climate Change Adaptation for Agribusinesses,’ to increase awareness of local agribusinesses on the risks posed by climate change to their business models.
The kick-off event of the series, ‘Experience from Industry Leaders,’ will take place on Tuesday, 24 August, at 9 AM via Zoom and will bring together a variety of prominent Sri Lankan business leaders who have identified climate change as a risk in their own business models and taken steps towards adaptation and mitigation.
The event will be opened by Ms. Amanda Jewell, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. A panel discussion will follow, featuring Mr. Dilhan Fernando, CEO Dilmah Tea Company PLC (keynote speaker), joined by Ms. Shea Wickramasingha, Group Managing Director, CBL Group; Mr. Charitha Subasinghe, President – Retail, John Keells Holdings PLC; Dr. Rohan Fernando, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Plantation Managements PLC; and Dr. Giriraj Amarnath, Principal Researcher and RGL – Disaster Risk Management and Climate Resilience, International Water Management Institute. The webinar will be moderated by Mr. Nisthar Cassim, Senior Journalist and Editor of the Daily Financial Times. An interactive Question and Answer session will follow the discussion.
The series aims to encourage agribusinesses to invest in adaptation strategies, with a long-term view of achieving bottom-line growth. As a key outcome of the event, participating agribusinesses will have the opportunity to explore the possibility of accessing MDF funding to invest in socially inclusive and sustainable climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
“It is imperative that agribusinesses are aware of the impacts of climate change and are equipped to adapt. This is important, not only for safeguarding the planet and its resources, but also to ensure that Sri Lankan businesses stay globally competitive and continue to support livelihoods of Sri Lankan men and women who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. MDF looks forward to partner with agribusinesses to implement climate smart and inclusive business models,” said Momina Saqib, Country Director of the Market Development Facility.
Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector contributes to 7.8 per cent of GDP. Approximately, 29 per cent of the country’s labour force is employed in the sector, providing livelihood to 70 per cent of the rural population. In the last 10 years, the sector has contributed to both the domestic food requirement and about USD 2.5 billion in export proceeds on average. In this context, climate change poses a significant threat to the sector and its productivity, putting at risk the livelihoods of direct and indirect stakeholders.
MDF is funded by the Australian Government and implemented by Palladium in partnership with Swisscontact. In Sri Lanka, MDF’s focus is on supporting the high value tourism, agriculture and fisheries sectors with cross-cutting investments to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation, access to finance and digital adoption. To date, MDF’s investments have benefitted 28,710 disadvantaged men and women and generated an additional income of USD 15,091,000 for Sri Lanka.