Figure 7. Accelerated Mahaweli Program, 1988
Source: Based on information from Asoka Bandarage, "Women and Capitalist
Development in Sri Lanka, 1977-87," Bulletin of Concerned Asian
Scholars, 20, April-June 1988, 58; and (Democratic Socialist Republic of) Sri
Lanka, Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, Mahaweli Saga, Challenge and
Response, Colombo, 1985, 55.
Figure 8. Agriculture and Land Use, 1988
Source: Based on information from "Agro-Bio-Environmental Chart of Sri Lanka,"
Tokyo: Resources Council, Science and Technology Agency, 1977.
Gemstone prospector near Ratnapura
Courtesy Paige W. Thompson
Agriculture--including forestry and fishing--accounted for
over 46 percent of exports, over 40 percent of the labor force,
and around 28 percent of the GNP in 1986. The dominant crops were
paddy, tea, rubber, and coconut. In the late 1980s, the
government-sponsored Accelerated Mahaweli Program irrigation
project opened a large amount of new land for paddy cultivation
in the dry zone of the eastern part of the island
In contrast, the amount of land devoted to tea, coconut, and
rubber remained stable in the forty years after independence.
Land reforms implemented in the 1970s affected mainly these three
crops. Little land was distributed to small farmers; instead it
was assumed by various government agencies. As a result, most tea
and a substantial proportion of rubber production was placed
under direct state control.
Data as of October 1988