Agricultural Entrepreneurship for Three-Wheeler owners | Daily News

Agricultural Entrepreneurship for Three-Wheeler owners

From Three-Wheeler to Agrientrepreneurship

Three-wheelers or rickshaws with an automated engine are commonly used in Sri Lanka as an affordable transportation mode for people of all demographics including tourists.

Even though most three-wheelers are used as rental vehicles, some are used to deliver goods or as advertising vehicles. The number of three wheelers in Sri Lanka amounts to over 1.2 million and majority of them have been purchased using loans from financial institutes.

There is a significance increase in the number of three-wheelers in Sri Lanka in the last two decades and the total fuel consumption per person has also increased in the past two years as a direct impact of Covid-19. Fuel consumption of Sri Lanka in 2021 amounted to 264,000MT of diesel and 144,000MT of petrol.

In 2021 the weekly requirements of diesel was 5500MT and petrol was 3000MT and this has increased in 2022 to a weekly requirement of 8000MT of diesel and 4500MT of petrol. With a total of 7 million vehicles on the road and the 22 million population of Sri Lanka, petrol and diesel consumption of 408,000MT accounts to 19L per capita in 2021 and 600,009MT total consumption into 27L per capita in 2022. Currently Sri Lanka spends about USD 500 million per month on importing petroleum.

Fuel Shortage

With the decrease of the Sri Lankan rupee value and the economic crisis the country is facing, daily we witness long queues of three-wheelers around almost all fuel stations and, the fuel shortage seems to continue. The ineffective short-lived fuel rationing measure does not seem to cater the needs of the unrest and stressed 800,000 self employed, three-wheeler drivers who wait in lines.

Spending hours in queues for fuel impacts these daily wagers enormously and in these testing times it is unbearable to increase the fares and strain the already distressed public. This has caused a significant trauma among three-wheeler owners mentally and physically as there is no means to buy fuel even at an increased price. Wasting time in lines in frustration has caused riots, unruly behaviours on the roads and many other social issues as a result.

The fuel shortage impacts almost all Micro and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) ecosystems, especially with the three-wheeler drivers demanding higher charges or at times unable to operate at all. Some of them claim to have stayed in queues for over 12 hours prior to obtaining fuel and with the monthly lease payments and other utility bills adding up, it has become near impossible for them to make a decent living these days.

The current economic crisis is not easy on any citizen but the effect it has on the self-employed low income wagers such as the three-wheeler drivers is unbearable. A few months ago most of these three-wheeler drivers lead comfortable lives with their daily income but the fuel shortage and the price increment has made them struggle to survive. Sri Lankan government must identify means to provide relief towards such groups immediately.

The Problem

In the last few decades Sri Lanka faced labour shortages in many industries as there is reluctance in the youth to take up these manual jobs. Meanwhile, the youth are more and more attracted to becoming three-wheeler drivers and find it a more recognized and socially accepted means of employment. Even when there are many opportunities for youth to gain vocational training and obtain many professional or technical skills, their preference lies on becoming a self employed three-wheeler driver. With the inadequacy, inefficiency and discomfort experienced in public transport, the demand for three-wheelers has flourished as a better mode of transport.

Over 30% of the total three-wheelers of the country are registered in the Western Province and 33% of the total drivers fall in to the age group of under 35 years. Many young three-wheeler drivers not only wastes their precious time on the roads at stands but at times get involved in addictive substances and criminal activities. Taking all these issues into consideration, it is best that we identify means of making the three-wheeler drivers/owners more productive towards the economy of the country.

Current Status

Many three-wheeler drivers staying in long queues have expressed their interest in joining another livelihood if an opportunity arises. They have been earning from Rs.50,000 to Rs. 140,000 per month before the current crisis and with the lease payments and increase in living costs adding on to the inability to earn even 1/3 of the former income, most of the three-wheeler drivers are eager to find other financial means. Most of them have expressed an interest on a part-time basis employment.


As a solution to the difficulties faced by the three-wheeler owners, they can opt to become entrepreneurs. This would be beneficial for themselves as well as the economy. The first question asked by most of the three-wheeler owners would be how to go about this concept. A guideline can be provided but as for any entrepreneur, the journey will be unique to one’s self. Whether it is a creative activity that takes place while waiting for hires or waiting in line for fuel or, whether it would be a full time venture, is a choice to be made by each individual.

Agricultural Entrepreneurship

Agriculture is known as one of the key livelihoods in many countries. In Sri Lankan agriculture one of the main issues identified is the low rate of productivity. Over the past few decades in Sri Lanka, there is growing pressure on farmers to increase their production and some of the key reasons for insufficient crops can be identified as declining land size, urbanisation, modernised lifestyles and rapid population growth.

Three-wheeler owners can convert this problem into an opportunity and engage in part time Agricultural Entrepreneurship. By definition an Agricultural Entrepreneur is a person who manages and develops agricultural products which is a strategic development in the agriculture sector.

Agricultural Entrepreneurship is an emerging field which involves analysing and understanding the concepts of Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, responding to the economical or legal policy changes and technological disruptions of the industry. For anyone who wishes to get involved in this on a part-time basis, the benefits will surpass the negatives. By spending the spare time on farming, they will be able to produce fresh agro-foods for their families, save money on merchants and even make profits from selling the harvests.


As a shortened version of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, the term ‘Agripreneur’ is gaining a well known identity around the globe. An ‘Agripreneur’ can be defined as an individual who starts, organises and manages a business venture focusing on the agricultural industry. If a three-wheeler owner wishes to engage in Agripreneurship it is wise to analyse the market, develop plans for the spot of land they plan to farm and develop necessary skills and knowledge required to become successful.

Finding Success

To succeed as a part-time Agripreneur, three-wheeler owners must develop their understanding of the opportunities of the market and the current economy. It is best to get ideas and advice from experienced farmers in order to find ways to conduct sales and make continuous profits. Additionally they should, become more initiative to receive benefits of the opportunities present, be single-minded and willing to adopt innovative methods in farming, be inventive and look for creative ideas to manage both employments simultaneously, operate in the farming activities even with the limited and inconvenient space available, try to be visionary and have futuristic goals and come up with strategies and technologies to suit with the environment.


Part-time Agripreneurship may not be right for everyone but would be a feasible option for any three-wheeler owner who struggles in the current economic crisis. It will provide healthy food for one’s own family and community as well as bring a decent profit. If the other family members can also contribute during their spare time, the free labour could supplement as an additional cash income. In these testing times, this would even be therapeutic for all with the time spent on soil, plants and nature. Furthermore, the air pollution could even be less around the residence and the area, as a result.


Agripreneurship will be a great part time occupation for three wheeler owners/drivers. If they are willing to implement this method of secondary income which has many benefits, they should launch and grow their agro-operations by conducting proper planning. It is always best to know the market and possible customers if they are planning to sell the crops and establish the minimal financial resources required. When considering part-time farming they should acknowledge that farming is a business that needs capital, labour, land and equipment. It is important to take into consideration all factors and keep the main goals in mind when starting to be an Agri Entrepreneur. Finally, it is good to realise that goals can always be re-evaluated and therefore, never to give up on succeeding as an Agrientrpreneur.

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