Sri Lanka heading for bumper rice harvest in 2019

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is forecasting 1.471 million tonnes of paddy to be produced in the Yala 2019 minor cultivation season with 12,278 metric tonnes lost due to crop damaged mostly due to drought, after recording a strong main season harvests.

In the main Maha 2019 cultivation season Sri Lanka harvested 2.59 million metric tonnes of paddy (rough rice), putting the country in line to produce 2.73 million tonnes of rice for the full year, Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture said.

Under normal consumption pattern of 2.34 million metric tonnes of rice a year Sri Lanka, based on a monthly consumption of 195,000 metric tonnes of rice.

Sri Lanka may end up with a 382,212 metric tonnes of surplus rice unless there is further crop damage.

However Sri Lanka’s Samba retail rice prices are down this year, which may boost consumption.

The retail price of kekulu (raw) rice was about 75 rupees per kilo by August 2019 and Samba 85 rupees, compared to 78 rupees for raw and 111 rupees for Samba last year, according to central bank data.

The Yala 2019 forecast is based on 358,680 hectares of field cultivated up to June 2019 which is 78 percent of the target for 2019.

Progress up to June was 7 percent higher than average sown in the last three seasons,

In July Deputy Consumer Affairs Minister Buddika Pathirana had blocked a 7 rupee per kilo price increase by Sri Lanka’ two main rice millers.

Millers had said their costs increased after the rupee collapsed in 2019.

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In Sri Lanka there is a tax difference between milled flour and raw wheat, giving rents to millers. (Colombo/Aug18/2019)