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GIEWS Country Brief: Sri Lanka 27-June-2012

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Record harvest estimated for 2012 Maha season paddy crop

  • The 2011 aggregate rice output declined

  • Price of rice has been decreasing since the beginning of the year while price of wheat flour increased sharply in May 2012

  • Overall food security situation has improved

Record harvest estimated for 2012 Maha season paddy crop

Harvesting of the main season (Maha) paddy and maize crops was completed in April. The official estimate puts this season’s paddy production at a record level of 3 million tonnes, some 16 percent above 2011 flood-affected output of the same season.

The increase in harvest is predominantly attributed to an expansion in the planted area by 12 percent, generally favourable rainfall as well as an adequate input supply during the growing season.

Similarly, maize harvest of the 2012 Maha season is officially estimated to have reached a record level at 188 400 tonnes, an increase of about 18 percent over the previous year’s bumper harvest of the same season.

Currently, the 2012 secondary season (Yala) paddy and maize crops, sown from April to May, are growing under generally scanty rainfall condition in most regions of the country. According to the Sri Lanka Department of Meteorology rainfall distribution is expected to improve once the southwest monsoon arrives.

The 2011 annual rice output is estimated to be lower than in 2010, following flood damage to the Maha season paddy crop

According to the Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka, the 2011 aggregate paddy production stood at 3.9 million tonnes, some 10 percent lower than the record output in 2010. This mainly reflects the decline of the Maha season paddy crop to 2 million tonnes, about 24 percent below the 2010 record harvest of the corresponding season. This was mainly due to the impact of localized flooding, poor sunlight conditions during the growing period and reduction in paddy planting. At this level of production, the country is almost self-sufficient in rice. Since wheat is not produced in the country, the import requirements in the marketing year 2012 (Jan/Dec) are estimated at a normal level of about 1 million tonnes.

Price of rice has been decreasing since the beginning of the year while price of wheat flour increased sharply in May 2012

The price of rice has fallen steadily since January 2012, following the estimated record harvest of the main season (Maha) paddy crop.

In the capital city market it showed a decline of 8 percent in June 2012 from its level a year ago.

By contrast, the price of wheat flour, which has been relatively stable for twelve months, increased sharply in May 2012, following the depreciation of the Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR) and increase in transport costs. In May 2012, it reached a new record level averaging LKR 93 (about USD 0.70) per Kg, some 9 percent higher than a year earlier.

Overall food security situation has improved

The food security situation has dramatically improved after the end of the 25-year old war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the government forces in May 2009. Most of the IDP camps are now closed but some IDPs remain with host families or in transit situation. According to the Disaster Management Centre, the floods during December 2010-January 2011 in the eastern and central parts of the country had affected over 1 million people.