Human Resources and institutional Development Division (HRID) primarily designs and execute straining programmes to enhance knowledge, develop skills and change attitudes of adults involved in agrarian and rural development activities with a view to improve socio economic standing of the farming community. The clients of HRID training programmes belong to a broad range of higher officials and field officers of government organizations and NGOs involved in the development activities in the rural sector, farmer leaders, representatives at grass root level community based organizations and ordinary farmers. Broadly the division is involved in the following activities:

  • Implementing of HARTI training programmes designed for rural/agrarian development.
  • Designing and conducting training activities within the agrarian sector under the direction of the ministry of agriculture
  • Undertaking outside training programmes on specific subjects.
  • Providing services of experts for the training programmes conducted by the outside agencies.
  • Organizing workshops/seminars based on national priorities
  • Documenting and publishing training reports

The training activities of the Institute are coordinated by this Division. Its staff includes Research and Training officers, Audio Visual Technicians and the other support staff. The expert services of research officers of other divisions are solicited for special training programmes. Apart from the tailor made training programmes scheduled in annual training calendar, HRID also designs training courses to meet the specific needs of clients. The main training areas of HRID are listed below:

  • Adults Training Methodology
  • Social Science Research Methodology
  • Agricultural Marketing and marketing extension
  • Project Planning and Evaluation
  • People mobilization and People centered Agricultural Resource management
  • Participatory Irrigation Management
  • Training of trainers on organizational management, people mobilization, PRA and PCM
  • Farmer Training on organizational management, leadership development, partnership development etc.
   Ongoing Research  








At a Focus Group Discussion with Stakeholders


During the Field Survey



At a Focus Group Discussion with Stakeholders



Polythene bags cause a large scale negative impact on the global agricultural sectors. The agricultural impacts of polythene bags are very harmful in several aspects and consequently these bags become the very threat to our food and life. The most common final resting place for the polythene bags is the garbage bin, thus resulting in huge volumes of polythene bags filling the landfills that remain on strategic surfaces of the planet. As the polythene bag is non-biodegradable and almost non-compostable (Stevens, 2001), it stays in the soil for an excessively long period of time thereby causing unimaginable harms to the agricultural sectors. The agricultural crops cannot grow where the polythene bags stay because their roots cannot move around due to the ever present of plastic bags. It is really amazing that the thin polythene bags are so strong that the roots of trees are unable to pierce it to find its way inside the soil to find nutrients; on the other hand, we find plants and trees on the mountains mainly because of the obvious absence of the polythene bags. The most significant negative impacts of the polythene bags on agriculture are: reduction in soil fertility, decrease in nitrogen fixation, huge loss of nutrients in the soil, decrease in crop harvest, disparity in flora and fauna on soil etc. These negative impacts of polythene bags in fact reduce soil fertility to a great extent and thus reduce agricultural production to a great quantity.


Sri Lanka imports 113,500 metric tons of polythene annually and the expenditure amounts to Rs. 2 billion. According to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) per capita consumption of polythene in Sri Lanka is 5.71 kilograms and in western province it’s around 7.50 kilograms. A recent survey carried out by CEA has shown that over 1,500,000 lunch sheets and about 2,000,000 polythene bags are used daily and polythene use is caused for environmental disasters such as the Meethotamulla garbage dump, flooding in urban areas even in light rain and death of wild life dumping polythene will block the water penetration inside the soil and soil water movement it will affect the plant root water intake and change the irrigation water requirement for plants. According to environmentalists’ polythene waste is between 10% and 15% of the daily garbage.

According to the statistics in CEA, 8,000 to 15,000 metric tons of garbage is collected daily in Sri Lanka. In the Western Province alone 6,500 to 7,000 metric tons of garbage is collected daily. Annually, Sri Lanka produces one million metric tons of garbage and 30 to 40 percent of that is produced in the Colombo, Dehiwala, Mt. Lavinia and Sri Jayawardenapura areas.

Consequently, Sri Lankan government banned the use of polythene, grocery bags, shopping bags, lunch sheets and polystyrene boxes effect from 1st September 2017 onwards as one of the measures to reduce the quantity of garbage countrywide and as a measure to protect the environment.

However, many parties mainly All Ceylon Polythene Manufactures and Recyclers Association (ACPMRA) and Canteen Owners’ Association are accusing that the authorities in the government haven’t looked at the practical side of such measures and taken steps to find replacements to fill the blanks. They further mention the highest quantity of polythene is made of the shopping bags, commonly known as “silli silli bags” issued by the hundreds of thousands by shops, boutiques and supermarkets to their customers with their purchases. But no sustainable alternatives have come to the market even after the announcement of the ban, except for cloth bags promoted by one or two supermarket chains.

Then hundreds of thousands of people working in offices and other work places have found it difficult to bring their lunch from home because of the prevailing conventional lunch sheets were banned. The hotels and the other eateries have also faced the same problem when people orders take away food packs. Besides, many people reiterate that the professed intention of the government is commendable. But it would only be practical if it entails appropriate alternative measures. Otherwise it would face the fate that was faced by the decision taken by the previous government to transport vegetable from farming areas to Colombo in plastic boxes.

However, with the mean of this study, we will be able to find the solutions for the below issues while proposing most suitable alternatives for shopping bags and lunch sheets to be promoted in Sri Lanka.


Study Questions




Study Objective

To propose most suitable alternatives for polythene shopping bags, lunch sheets and grocery bags to be promoted in Sri Lanka and possible remedies can be followed to minimize the non-bio degradable polythene shopping bags, lunch sheets and grocery bags in Sri Lanka.

For achieving the main objective of the study, following specific objectives are to be considered.