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Wednesday February 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka’s CMC switches to vegetables amid looming food crisis

ECONOMYNEXT – Facing a severe food crisis, Sri Lanka’s Colombo Municipal Council has switched to vegetable cultivation in 600-acre land it owns in the capital city which it earlier used for ornamental plants.

The island nation is faced with a food crisis due to decline in the production after a failed chemical fertilizer ban by former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2021.

As a result, the country with 22 million people forced to pay higher prices with the nation-wide food inflation has been hovering around 85 percent, the latest data show.

The cultivation of vegetables including brinjal, reddish, beetroot, cord, tomato, long beans, chilli, spinach, and beans was done to feed low-income families, who account for 60 percent of the residents in the Municipal area.

Usually, Colombo residents get vegetables mainly from other key markets including central Dambulla. However, lack of production in the face of expensive inputs and higher transport cost after fuel price hike.

“The crops that we have basically harvested goes to the community kitchens. We feed so many schools and to the underserved communities. So, at this point of time we have five schools that do midday meals for them,” Colombo Mayoress Rosy Senanayake told EconomyNext.

“We do it for preschools and we use the harvest in those kitchens and we have community kitchens in those communities. We basically give all the vegetation that we have.”

Officials in charge of cultivations said the harvesting is done three times a month on a rotiational basis.

The cultivation, titled as ‘Urban Harvest’ is a joint project of CMC, ONE team, Kirula Sevana and many voluntary groups to help the cultivation with an aim to encourage growing food crops usually imported in identified lands and apartments within the city while organizing community kitchen projects in the city. (Colombo/Nov 22/2022)

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Sri Lanka bond yields down at close

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bond yields were down at close following a bond auction on Wednesday, dealers said while a guidance peg for interbank transactions remained unchanged.

“The rates were steady at the auction,” a dealer said.

“This can be a signal to the market saying the rates will go down in the future.”

A bond maturing on 01.07.2025 closed at 32.40/60 percent, down from yesterday’s 32.60/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2027 closed at 29.10/35 marginally down from yesterday’s 29.20/75 percent.

The Central Bank’s guidance peg for interbank US dollar transactions remained unchanged at 362.14 rupees against the US dollar.

Commercial banks offered dollars for telegraphic transfers at 371.38 rupees on Friday, data showed. (Colombo/Feb 01/2022)

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Sri Lanka bill auction hits pothole after 2025 bond spike

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka sold only 45 billion rupees in Treasury bills at Wednesday’s auction after offering 120 billion rupees, data from the state debt office showed, amid market confusion over a spike in a two year bond at an earlier action.

30.1 billion rupees of 3-month bills were sold at 29.91 percent, unchanged from a week earlier after offering 60 billion rupees for auction.

5.1 billion rupees of 6-month bills were sold at 28.72 percent, flat after offering 30 billion.

10.3 billion rupees of 12-month bills were sold at 27.72 percent after offering 30 billion.

Phase II subscriptions have been opened.

The market was foxed after the 2025 bonds were accepted at sharply higher yield than market on January 30, dealer said.

There was further confusion as the there was an outright purchase of 2025 at around 29 percent earlier in January.

Some investors speculated that the authorities were trying to drive more buyers towards short end bonds as bill volumes were getting larger. (Colombo/Feb01/2023)

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Sri Lanka services exports down 5.9-pct in 2022

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s services exports were estimated to have fallen 5.9 percent to 1,876.3 million US dollars, the island’s Export Development Board said.

Services exports estimated is made up of ICT/BPM, construction, financial services, transport and logistics.

There are more than 500 ICT companies, the EDB said.

Sri Lanka’s merchandise exports were up 4.6 percent to US dollars 13.1 billion dollars in 2022 from 2021.

Sri Lanka’s goods exports are slowing amid lower growth in Western markets. (Colombo/ Feb 01/2023)

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