Agriculture is the most important sector of the Lankan economy. Even though its contribution to the gross domestic product declined substantially during the past 3 decades it is the most important source of employment for the majority of the Lankan workforce. Approximately 38 percent of the total labor force was engaged in agriculture. In the subsistence sector, rice is the main crop and farming rice is the most important economic activity for the majority of the people living in rural areas. In addition to rice, various other food crops are produced for local consumption. They include yams, pulses, grains, vegetables, and fruits. Most of these crops are cultivated in family gardens, except for potatoes and sugar. Sugar cane is cultivated in the dry zone, and Sri Lanka produces only 15 percent of what it consumes domestically.
The major plantation crops of tea, rubber, and coconuts continue to figure prominently in the economy of Lanka; however, the contribution of these commercial crops to gross domestic product declined from 11.5 percent in 1970 to 5 percent in 2000. Tea, the prominent crop of the plantation sector, grows in many parts of the wet zone, and in particular in the central hill country. Sri Lanka is famous for its high quality black tea, and is the largest supplier in the world. The second major commercial crop is rubber, growing in the ridge and valley country of the wet zone interior and the third commercial crop, coconuts, is grown mainly in the hinterland of the western seaboard. The livestock sector in Sri Lanka is small, consisting mainly of the dairy and the poultry subsections. Lanka dairy farming is a small-scale domestic activity. An important development in the livestock sector was the rapid increase in the poultry production.
However, the farmers are representing the poorest section of the Lankan society. The merchants do not give a reasonable price for the harvest and unduly enrich out of the labour of the farmers. They are trapped in debts and The Farmers Struggle movement is organizing the farmers all over the country in order to build one movement for all the farmers. The main challenge facing by the movement is the lack of awareness of the farmers on their burning issues. Due to the poverty the farmers are always cheated by the ruling class and thus enhancing the knowledge of the farmers is the one and only way to build the strong and effective movement against neo liberal economy.