Sri Lanka starts exporting maize

May 21, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s will export its first consignment of maize on May 22, filling a part of a 10,000 tonne order to Taiwan and Canada as domestic production picks up pace, officials said.

Sadikeen said as a result buyers were prepared to pay more for his maize. He was exporting at 338 US dollars a tonne.

Minister Abeywardene said this year Sri Lanka has put 77,718 hectares under maize in the main ‘Maha’ cultivation season yielding 200,857 tonnes. In the minor ‘Yala’ season 15,656 hectares are to be cultivated yielding 47,075 tonnes of maize.

He said rains were delayed this year and some crops had already been destroyed in some areas.

Sri Lanka has been increasing maize production under a strategy of being ‘self-sufficient’ under the current administration, he said. Sri Lanka also gives subsidized fertilizer at a cost of about 250 million US dollar a year to the taxpayer to farmers.

In 2005 Sri Lanka had grown 28,401 hectares of maize and produced 41,804 tonnes of maize. By 2008 it had increased to 112,287 tonnes with 51,608 hectares coming under cultivation.

Shahul Sadikeen, head of Wayamba Traders said he had received an order for 10,000 tonnes of maize and i