Sri Lanka rice autarkists urge food controls on the sick: report

June 26, 2010 (LBO) – Interest groups backing ‘domestic production’ have urged the state restrict the types of food available for sick people in state hospitals as well as the military, a media report said. The Sunday Island said a group calling itself the Mawbima Lanka Padanama (motherland Lanka foundation) had also urged the state to “prohibit serving of food items made of wheat flour at hospitals and military bases.”

Ariyaseela Wickremenayake who represented the group had said ‘foreign exchange’ was squandered on importing a million tonnes of wheat a year, the report said.

Foreign exchange shortages are not related to imports, but are caused by contradictory monetary policy of ‘printing’ domestic money and trying to keep a fixed exchange rate at the same time.

Foreign exchange shortages and high inflation started in Sri Lanka after the creation of a central bank in 1950, with money printing powers, after abolishing earlier monetary arrangement (currency board) that kept the exchange rate fixed from 1885.

Instead of changing the monetary policy, a fascist-nationalists ‘import substitution’ autarky gained ground in post-independent Sri Lanka to ‘save’ foreign exchange. Th