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No Rice Imports

Jan 22, 2011 2:28:11 PM - thesundayleader.lk
  • Despite Floods

With the year begun with a 300,000 metric ton (mt) carry forward surplus rice stock from last year, that compensates for the destruction of an estimated harvest of 450,000 mt of paddy due to the recent rains and floods, a Government source told this reporter on Wednesday (one kilo of paddy=680 grams of rice).
Sri Lanka’s monthly rice consumption is in the region of 193,000 mts.
“And with the crop from Kurunegala District entering the market next month, I see no necessity for the country having to resort to rice imports,” he said.
Government’s original Maha projections of 2.6 million mts of paddy has been slashed to 2.15 million mts as a result of the destruction caused by the recent rains and floods, mainly in the country’s North Central and Eastern provinces, that inundated some 90,000 hectares of paddy land. Generally, some 650.000 ha. of paddy land are brought under the plough countrywide.
The previous Maha, ie Maha 2009/10 produced a record crop of 2.63 million mt.
Sri Lanka, to be self-sufficient in rice, needs an estimated annual paddy production of 3.35 million mts.
The island’s two rice cultivating seasons, Maha and the Yala, brought in an estimated 4.1 million mts of paddy crop last year.
“With the tanks being full and Maha affected due to the floods, this year’s Yala may be harvested a month earlier, in July/August, compared with the usual August/September season, bringing in the Yala harvest early to the market, thereby mitigating the need to import rice, the source said
The weather is now clear in the flood affected areas, he added. (See also last week’s The Sunday Leader issue).