ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector saw double-digit growth in the first half of 2018 from a year ago, with paddy output up sharply, new central bank data showed.
The Agriculture Production Index (API), which measures the output of agriculture and fisheries sectors, grew by 13.3 percent to 133.8 in the first half of 2018, compared to the previous year, the Central Bank said in a report.
The paddy sub-index saw the most growth, up 62.5 percent to 128.2 in the first half, due to good weather and higher cultivation, the report said.
This was following a negative growth of 49.2 percent in the first eight months of 2017.
Paddy production was up 62.6 percent to 2.4 million metric tonnes in the 2017/18 Maha season, compared to the previous season.
With this year’s Yala season expected to produce 1.4 million metric tonnes, total paddy production is estimated to be enough to meet domestic demand.
Rice imports fell by 46 percent to 241 million kilograms in the first eight months, compared to the previous year, due to the sufficient paddy stocks available for milling.
Other crops sub index, including field crops and vegetables, was up 18.9 percent to 163.8 in the first half, the Recent Economic Developments report said.
Production of other field crops, such as cowpea, green gram and potatoes, was up 42.3 percent to 429,289 metric tonnes, and vegetable production was up 20.6 percent to 985,982 metric tonnes in the 2017/18 Maha season.
Sugar production was up 56 percent to 22,859 metric tonnes in the first half of 2018, mainly because of increased production at the Sevanagala factory.
Rubber production dropped by 12.8 percent 39.3 million kilogrammes in the first half of 2018, compared to the previous year, because of continuous rain in the wet zones.
Coconut production dropped 5.3 percent to 1.2 million nuts in the first half, because of delayed effects of drought conditions seen in early 2017. (COLOMBO, 08 November 2018)