Sri Lanka gives more money to promote rice over wheat flour

Aug 19, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government is to spend 2.5 billion rupees over the next three years to extend a programme to encourage rice cultivation and consumption and reduce wheat flour consumption, a spokesman said.

Rambukkwelle said the government wants to support the agriculture sector which it sees as a key factor in increase economic growth to 10 percent from 5-6 percent in recent years. Media minister Keheliya Rambukkwelle said the government’s local food production programme had been successful in increasing paddy production and discouraging wheat flour consumption.

In 2008 Sri Lanka recorded its highest ever annual paddy yield of 3.88 million metric tonnes, he told a news conference.

The highest yield recorded in a single Maha (main) harvesting season was 2.6 million MT of paddy in the 2009-2010 season.

“As a result of this increased paddy production the annual per capita wheat flour consumption has come down to 29.22 kg in 2009 from 42.07 Kg in 2005,” Rambukkwelle said.

“The extent of paddy cultivation in the Eastern Province has also been increased to over 40 by now as against 2007.”

Paddy lands in the north and east, where its 30-year ethnic war was largely fought, are now c