Sri Lanka mulls rice surplus

May 24, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is likely to have a surplus of rice as paddy fields neglected owing to war in the north and east return to full production, government and private sector officials said. Unless there is a shift in food consumption patterns, ways to manage the excess production would have to be found, Wijewickrema said.

“Our agricultural strategy in the long-run will be shifting from subsistence agriculture to commercially-oriented agriculture,” he said.

“High-value crops must replace traditionally low-value crops. It may be necessary to diversify rice cultivation within the national policy.”

Anura Ekanayake, chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said the end of the war offers opportunities to exploit the north-east region’s resources with modern technology.

“There has been a sharp increase in agricultural production, not only rice but also vegetables and other crops,” he said.

“So much so, concern has been expressed that we might face a glut, not perhaps this year, but most certainly the next year.”

Eastern province governor Mohan Wijewickrema said previously neglected paddy fields in the region, which has about a quarter of the island’s paddy land, ar