Dinesh Kodituwakku, 2012 Commonwealth Scholar from Sri Lanka

MSc Agriculture, University of the South Pacific, Samoa

Dinesh Kodituwakku, a Commonwealth Scholar from Sri Lanka supported by the CSFP endowment fund, completed a Master’s in Agriculture at the School of Agriculture and Food Technology at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Samoa. The two-year programme included a Postgraduate Diploma in Agricultural Economics, which was awarded to Dinesh in 2012.

Dinesh’s research topic was ‘An economic study of potential production-promoting sugarcane and sugar policies in Sri Lanka: some recommendations in the light of Indian and Thai policy lessons’. As this was a comparative study, he found it helpful to be based at a university with an internationally-diverse staff and student body. USP has lecturers from New Zealand, India, Fiji, Samoa, Nigeria, and the Philippines. ‘Sharing knowledge and experiences as well as personal contacts will enable me to expand my professional network in the future,’ said Dinesh.

Dinesh investigated sugar cane and sugar policies in different countries. ‘This will potentially assist in achieving the Government of Sri Lanka’s objective of increasing its sugar production up to 40% of domestic demand by the year 2020,’ he explained. ‘The knowledge of production-oriented policies for both sugar cane and sugar production will allow me to recommend better policies to achieve this target.’

Studying at USP gave Dinesh the opportunity to acquire a wide knowledge of agricultural policies implemented in different Pacific Island countries. Some of these policies may be applicable to Sri Lanka, and Dinesh aims to use these in the future in his work as Research Officer (Economics) at the Sugarcane Research Institute in Sri Lanka. ‘With the additional capability, I hope to be able to assist in formulating production-oriented sugar policies for Sri Lanka. I’m also anticipating that with this degree, I can step up my career to a higher level in the future.’

Dinesh believes that the Commonwealth Scholarships supported by the CSFP endowment fund are important, as they allow students to explore similar development issues facing economies in Asia and Africa. ‘This will enable students to compare, share, and acquire good policies, practices, and programmes implemented by countries across different regions.’