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Rains Destroy Maha

Jan 15, 2011 2:22:07 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • 82% Of Ampara Crop Lost

Maha 2010/2011 is a failure due to the rains, devastating the paddy crop, especially in the North and East. Ampara, one of the country’s lucrative paddy growing districts which brought in a paddy crop of 341,592 metric tons (mts) last Maha, is expected to have this figure slashed by 281,592 mts or by 82.4% according to provisional estimates, an official source told this reporter.
This is the time that Maha is harvested from areas such as Samanthurai, Kalmunai and Akkaraipattu in the Ampara district and those areas have been affected, he said.
Batticaloa, another lucrative paddy growing district is equally bad, the source said. The tanks are full, but the crops destroyed due to the rains.
He however said that the rains had affected paddy cultivation in the East, but not in the North.
Islandwide, some 80,000 hectares (ha.) are under water, the source said, especially affecting the lucrative paddy growing areas of Ampara and Batticaloa. Generally some 650,000 ha. are brought under the plough countrywide.
Sri Lanka’s per capita rice consumption is 114 kilos. On a population of 20 million this works out to an annual consumption of 2.28 million mts of rice.  Only 68% of paddy is converted into rice. On that basis 2.28 million mts of rice is equivalent to 3.35 million mts of paddy.
Therefore for Sri Lanka to be self-sufficient in rice it requires an annual harvest of 3.35 million mts of paddy. Maha 2009/10 and Yala 2010 according to provisional data brought in a harvest of 4.1 million mts of paddy together, sufficient to meet Sri Lanka’s annual rice requirement.
Rice generally imported to the country is the exotic varieties such as Basmathi and fragrant rice which are not grown here, but which are required by the country’s leisure sector.
“If the waters however subside those lands may be retrievable for cultivation/harvesting, the source said.  However even on Tuesday rains were reported from Ampara, though by Thursday it had cleared, the source said on Friday.
An exact situation of the picture could be got this week, he said.
As some of the paddy growing areas are inundated, it’s difficult to go to those areas and make a proper assessment, the source said.
Maha 2009/10 grew 10.3% year on year (YoY) to record the highest crop since Independence, a quantity of 2,630,000 mts. of paddy, while Yala 2009 declined by 27.6% YoY to 1,268,000 mts. According to provisional data, last year’s Yala crop is estimated to have had been 1.5 million mts. Last year’s Yala was not affected by the rains.
Maha 2010/11 projections prior to the rains were 2.6 million mts., the same as the previous Maha crop, though the extent cultivated, due to increased land from the North and East having had been brought under the plough, had increased.  The reason for the flat projections was because rains experienced earlier, ie in November and December, had previously destroyed part of the crop. The extent of paddy land harvested in Maha 2009/10 was 641,000 ha., while the projections for the current Maha season were 686,000 ha.
2008 recorded the country’s highest Yala crop of 1.7 million mts. to date.