ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's rice production during the current Yala minor cropping season is expected to be 1.51 million metric tonnes, 6 percent below a 3-year average, a crop forecast said.
The forecast from 2016 will be lower than 2015 but higher than 2014.
In 2015, there was a bumper Yala harvest with a larger extent being sown.
The Department of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya said at the end of June 2016, 379,882 hectares of paddy or 76 percent of a targeted 502,923 had been sown. This was 8 percent lower than the past 3-year average.
It was 24 percent lower than in the bumper year 2015, but 23 percent higher than in 2014.
In May 22,429 hectares had been damaged by floods requiring re-cultivation. The highest production of 261,000 metric tonnes is expected from Anuradhapura followed by 163,000 tonnes from Kurunegala.
Last year Sri Lanka had a bumper harvest with stocks piling up at government warehouses.
Due to state intervention through guaranteed prices and import duty protection, Sri Lanka's rice is not of international quality and prices are also high, and a surplus does not lead to exports like in other countries.
Last year Vietnam exported 2.64 billion US dollars of rice.
Excess rice is used for animal feed or beer production. Thailand which practiced a guaranteed price scheme also ended up with large stocks. Among the uses suggested uses for the rice stocks are as animal feed and as feedstock for ethanol.
In 2016 the global rice crop is expected to decline due to El Nino weather variations. (Colombo/July21/2016)