Sri Lanka GDP expands 2.1-pct in second quarter

Sept 14, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s economy expanded 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2009 from 7.0 percent a year earlier, but was up from the 1.5 percent growth in the first quarter, the government’s statistics office said.

Agriculture

Agriculture grew 4.4 percent despite an 11.7 percent reversal in tea which was hit by lower external demand.

But an increased state emphasis in agriculture and the opening up of Eastern Sri Lanka had increased paddy production by 12.2 percent.

The statistics office said the fertilizer subsidy has encouraged production.

Kumarasinghe said Sri Lanka’s paddy production was high due to the ‘Api Wawamu’ concept of the government.

But Sri Lanka’s paddy prices remain at very high levels, compared to countries like Thailand that have emerged from last year’s ‘food crisis’ level prices.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization the average export price of Thai A-1 super rice was 583 US dollars a tonne (about 62.70 rupees a kilo at an exchange rate of 107.64 per dollar) in July 2008.

It had fallen a massive 44.5 percent to 323 US dollars a tonne or 37.11 rupees (at an