Sri Lanka lawmaker speaks for food freedoms, voiceless minority

Dec 09, 2011 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan lawmaker has spoken out for food freedoms, after a fellow parliamentarian and prime minister proposed banning an imported food heavily consumed by Tamil speaking minority citizens. Harsha de Silva, a lawmaker representing Sri Lanka’s main opposition spoke out against a proposal by Prime Minister D M Jayaratne to ban the import of wheat flour.

“The statement by the Prime Minister that wheat flour imports should be banned is an irresponsible statement and must be retracted,” de Silva said.

“While it may be his choice to consume only rice, or he wishes more people in this country ate rice, he must be made aware that some people in Sri Lanka are totally dependent on wheat flour.”

De Silva an economist said a state Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) for 2006 found that an average Tamil family in the estate sector consumed 17.4 kilograms of wheat flour per month when the cost per kilo was less than Rs 40.

At the time the national monthly average was 2.4 Kg per household.

“Even though price of wheat flour doubled since then to close to Rs 85 a kilogram currently, the HIES for the year 2010 found that estate Tamil households consumption only fell m