Land Grabbing: Current Status and Trends in Sri Lanka
by Sri Lanka Nature Group & People’s Alliance for Right to Land – PARL, June 2012
This study was carried out to determine the present status and trends of land grabbing in Sri
Lanka. The study covered 25 projects where our teams could locate, access to the information
and some practical issues also help to prioritize the cases for further studies. The selected
cases are diverse and hence further studies on them will be important to take decisions on
other cases referring as a model of issues. These cases were perceived to have profound
social and environmental impacts in 13 Districts. During the study it was discovered that
Monaragala District was the most affected. Throughout Sri Lanka a total of 36,611 hectares
have been acquired through illegal means. All the activities violating the accepted laws of Sri
Lanka are considered as an illegal involvement in this study. About 26,561 hectares have been
seized by government institutions while 10,050 hectares have been reworded to the private
sector. 8 types of projects are being carried out in these areas. When considered the number
of cases most of the cases are related with the tourism while in terms of land area most has
been allocated for agricultural projects.
Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy,
Civil Defense Force (CDF) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) are
among the state institutions that engaged in land grabbing the most. These rewords have led
to the displacement of thousands of people, loss of livelihoods of fishermen and farmers,
rapid depletion of forest cover and resultant hydrological and environmental impacts and
also creation and aggravation of the Human‐Elephant Conflict.
When these most of land get affected by other industries will affect to the food production,
mainly with loosing land of farmers and fisherman. As a result farmers and fisherman will
move it other industries. Mainly for the construction sector, they get jobs as labors. After
losing those lands and the people, as a result food production of the country will get affected.
It will cause food insecurity of the country. However, acquiring of agricultural land is directly
affecting to reduce household income of the poor farmers and food security of the country
while reducing the entire national agricultural production.