Sri Lanka rice surplus for 2019 lowered to 428,000MT

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is heading for a rice surplus of over 428,000 metric tonnes, a lower than the an earlier projection of 535,000 metric tonnes, the state agricultural office said.

The agency had revised down the main Maha season paddy (rough rice) output to 2.9 million metric tonnes from an earlier estimate of 3.07 million million metric tonnes.

The paddy will be enough to produce 1.83 million tonnes of milled rice, down from an earlier 1.94 million.

The minor Yala season output is projected 1.54 million metric tonnes, unchanged from the previous forecast, enough to produce 940,000 metric tonnes of milled rice.

The output from both seasons would be 4.44 million metric tonnes of paddy, enough to produce 2.77 million metric tonnes of milled rice.

Sri Lanka has an estimated monthly rice consumption of 195,299 metric tonnes.

The department of agriculture is projecting a surplus of 428,363 metric tonnes at the end of the 2019.
Due to years of protection and state intervention in rice farming, Sri Lanka does not produce
internationally traded grades of rice which have marketable qualities of palate and aroma.

Unlike spice or tea farmers, who export and earn revenues from abroad, rice is almost a non-tradable good and farmers seek price support at the expense of taxpayers and consumer.

Sri Lanka’s private traders have rice storage space, as well as some state warehouses. In the past there has been constraints when there were two years of good harvests.

The recent collapse of Sri Lanka’s rupee due to central bank money printing and contradictory policy, has brought domestic rice prices more in line with international prices. (Colombo/Oct08/2019)

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