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Below Average Rains Expected to Limit Sri Lanka Rice Production

26 February 2014

SRI LANKA - Harvesting of the 2013/14 main season (Maha) paddy began in early January and will continue until mid-April.

The start of the season was characterised by below average rains between first dekad of September and the third dekad of November over much of the country, particularly delaying sowing operations in the main producing areas of North Central, North Western and Eastern provinces of the country, reports FAO.

Although the rains resumed to more normal levels since early December, providing much needed relief, the reduction in the area planted to paddy, is expected to limit production this season.

Record cereal harvest estimated in 2013

The 2013 aggregate cereal production is estimated at 4.7 million tonnes, marking an increase of some 17 per cent relative to the last year’s below-average outcome.

Despite recurring localised floods during the main Maha season, the aggregate 2013 paddy production is estimated at 4.5 million tonnes, some 16 per cent up on the dry weather affected 2012 crop. The increase mainly reflects higher plantings, after new land came under cultivation in the northern and eastern areas, with the support from the government.

The 2013 maize crop, is officially estimated to reach a new record level of 248 000 tonnes, pointing to an increase of 23 per cent over the 2012 bumper harvest. The increase mainly reflects an expansion in area by 42 per cent, although below average rains during the growing season reduced the yields somewhat.

As a direct consequence of the record production in 2013, the cereal import requirement in the 2014 marketing year (January/December) is forecast at 1 million tonnes, some 9 per cent lower than last year’s level.

Almost all this volume is wheat which is not produced in the country and totally imported. As a result of bumper paddy harvests in recent years, the country is near self-sufficient in rice production.

TheCropSite News Desk

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