| Chartered Marketer and Consultant Strategist, Association of Agriculture Machinery Manufacturers and Suppliers Association, Sri Lanka
Topic: Agricultural Mechanization Leasing, Rural Finance and Investment
Lasantha Wickremesooriya, Chartered Marketer and Strategist, is a Senior Fellow of the INSS, Ministry of Defense, Sri Lanka.
He has served, both, in the export marketing of agricultural produce and agri- mechanization in Sri Lanka. He has wide experience in introducing appropriate mechanization in diverse applications, throughout the complete supply chain, from manufacturer to the end user.
He is currently the President elect of the Agriculture Machinery Association of Sri Lanka and is actively engaged in the industry providing advisory services. Through the association, he works closely with the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Mechanisation, of the UN-ESCAP.
Trade and Investment policies in the Asia-Pacific region have been progressively formulated to enhance the mechanisation of agriculture. However, one of the major challenges is the lack of capital availability to purchase such machinery, particularly by small scale farmers. At present most of the funding is through private banks or leasing firms, whose commercial interest rates are prohibitively expensive. Thus, a strategy for easing the cost of financing through low cost funding and or cooperative scheme where machines can be rented on a need basis, could be a viable option going forward.