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Rice consumption rises

Dec 23, 2010 10:00:06 AM - itnnews.lk

Central Bank reports have revealed that local rice consumption has soared.

Rice production has increased due to many facilities extended by the Government to the farmers which also included the fertilizer subsidy. At the same time, the government launched a streamlined programme to purchase the produce of the farmers during the last few years at a reasonable price. This enticed farmers in large numbers to take to cultivation of paddy. The cultivators were able to think of the next season sans fear and suspicion due to the purchases made by the Government at a guaranteed price without any delay.

The Government was able to expand cultivation to cover large areas in the North and the East after the liberation of these regions from terrorism. Successful results are now being achieved. With large numbers in the North and the East taking to rice consumption, the overall consumption levels had risen. Particularly, as pointed out by Central Bank reports, rice production in 2005 was 2,349 metric tons. In 2008, it surged to 3,875 metric tons. During the year 2005 the per-capita rice consumption was 101 kilograms. In 2008 it increased to 123 kilograms. With the continuous implementation of the cultivation drive in 2009, it was possible to bring under cultivation 75,752 acres of fallow paddy land. Thus, 91,000 metric tons of paddy production was added to the nation’s production. In the meantime, as pointed out by Census and Statistics Report, rice consumption in 2009 was over 2.2 million metric tons. This increased to over 2.35 million metric tons this year. The increase in rice consumption is mainly attributed to the surge in the wheat flour import tax. It is also reported that there is a high demand for rice from the Estate community based in the Central hills. According to the same reports, Coconut consumption had also risen.

The reports mainly attribute this rise to the people of the North and East taking to rice and coconut consumption under the prevailing peaceful climate within the country since the total eradication of terrorism.