updated: 2 February, 2007
IFAD in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to benefit from IFAD loans. Since 1978 IFAD has worked in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka and other donors. As of 2006, IFAD had committed a total of US$191.7 million for 14 projects with the aim of empowering rural poor people to overcome poverty. Benefits of closed and ongoing projects help improve the lives and livelihoods of some 460,000 households, or 2.2 million people.

Sri Lanka is one of the ten developing countries that has made the greatest contribution to IFAD resources. With new investments and programmes in Sri Lanka planned for the five-year period from 2003 to 2007, IFAD will continue to support rural development, peace consolidation and conflict prevention efforts in the aftermath of civil conflict. IFAD-funded projects focus on helping rural poor people in three geographical zones:

  • dry zones, where most of the country's poor rural people live, including marginalized farmers and households headed by women
  • plantation (or estate) zones and surrounding villages, where there are pockets of extreme poverty
  • coastal zones and surrounding areas, many of them former conflict zones, where people in poor fishing villages eke out a living

Projects financed by IFAD emphasize innovative approaches such as strengthening grass-roots organizations so members can effectively train other communities. Efforts to enable access to resources and markets include improving land-use rights for poor rural people, developing productive and social infrastructure, providing vocational training for off-farm employment, and supporting rural finance schemes for women’s initiatives. Participatory research and training support development of technology that improves farming techniques and systems and natural resource management.

Working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sri Lanka. IFAD invests in promoting local initiatives. It will continue to forge strong partnerships with NGOs and the private sector and seeks strategic links with other donors. The main areas of policy dialogue with the government and other donors include land tenure and access rights for rural poor people, social and welfare programmes that allow poor communities to assume responsibility for selecting the poor people who will participate, decentralization of decision-making to local levels, and strengthening the poverty reduction strategy’s focus on agriculture and rural areas.

Response to loss of lives and livelihoods

In 2005, in response to the urgent priority of recovery from the devastating effects of the tsunami in the north-east, east, south and south-west coastal areas of Sri Lanka, IFAD earmarked a total of about US$34.5 million in loans and grants for assistance. The sum is part of an initial US$100 million in IFAD-mobilized funds assisting tsunami-stricken countries. Among other things, the investments finance:

  • new activities in an expanded area that will include the tsunami-affected zones
  • a new programme for management of coastal resources that focuses on fishing resources
  • a large country grant to help address land tenure and other policy issues arising as a result of the disaster

In April 2005, less than four months after the tsunami struck, IFAD approved loans supporting two programmes in the affected area:


Projects: 14

Total cost:
US$339.2 million

Total loan amount: US$191.7 million

Directly benefiting: 460,432 households

Contact information
Mr Sana Jatta
Country programme manager
Via del Serafico, 107
00142 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 0654592446
Fax: +39 0654593446
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