Sri Lanka to import rice despite bumper harvest

Dec 18, 2008 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government says it wants a large stock of imported rice to boost stocks, days after the country’s statistics office announced a bumper harvest for the most recent growing season. At that time the ministry of consumer affairs allowed the import of 8,000 tons of rice from Burma to stabilize prices after they nearly hit an unprecedented 100 rupees per kilo.

But economists have said the price hike earlier this year were part of a global commodities bubble which has now collapsed with prices of several commodities falling sharply.

The government budget for 2008 had earmarked 15 billion rupees as fertilizer subsidies.

But this was busted in just five months and the government later increased the subsidies to 40 billion rupees.

The government has allocated 26 billion rupees as fertilizer subsidies in next year’s budget. Suranjana Vidyaratne, Director General of the Department of Statistics said the bumper harvest came from a 100 percent increase in output in key rice growing areas compared with the year before, during the Yala cultivation season.

These areas were the north-central Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts, as well as the eastern Batticaloa dis