Sri Lankan ‘food security’ cannot be taken in isolation: economists

June 7, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should have a holistic approach to avert the threat of the household food security of the vulnerable groups due to the prevailing food crisis, officials and economists have said.

A global commodity bubble – fired by money printing in reserve currency countries in particular – has brought higher prices for Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber exports, balancing out some of the expenditure on commodity imports, especially rice.

Other analysts say the ‘food security’ argument has been weakened by Sri Lanka’s own experience. In most years Sri Lanka rice production costs have been higher than the world costs.

Local rice production has traditionally been sustained with heavy import barriers, indicating that land that could be used for competitive agriculture is being used for expensive paddy production.

This year amidst poor monetary conditions at home, Sri Lanka again turned to rice imports to bring down local food prices, despite international rice prices being at record highs.

Meanwhile, Nimal Ranaweera, a former additional secretary of the ministry of agriculture, told Sri Lanka Association of Economists forum that farming in Sri Lanka should have higher productivity