SRI LANKA - Harvesting of the 2014 second season (Yala) rice and maize crops was completed in September. The 2014 Yala rice output, accounting for about 35 per cent of the annual production, is officially estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, 30 per cent below last year’s record level of the same season.
The sharp reduction is mainly the result of a 29 per cent contraction in area planted, following a prolonged period of dry weather at the start of the cropping season, particularly in the key north-central and eastern producing areas.
Due to the drought-reduced 2014 main season (Maha), harvested earlier in the year, the 2014 aggregate rice production is officially estimated at 3.6 million tonnes, some 22 per cent lower than the 2013 record output and 12 per cent below the previous five-year average.
Latest official estimates put the 2014 aggregate maize production (including the 2014 Maha and Yala seasons) at 244 213 tonnes, two per cent down from the 2013 record level. A 20 per cent expansion in the total area planted partially offset the damages caused by dry weather, preventing a larger production decline.
Cereal imports in the 2014 marketing year (January/December) forecast to increase
Imports of wheat, which is not produced domestically, are forecast to remain around last year’s level at 1.1 million tonnes. Minor quantities of rice are also normally imported and are expected to increase considerably in 2014 following the reduced production.
Rice prices at record levels, while those of wheat are stable
Rice prices increased further in September reaching record highs and were 36 per cent above their year-earlier levels. Prices were underpinned by a sharp contraction in this year’s paddy production. By contrast, wheat flour quotations, which are normally regulated, remained generally unchanged and close to their year-earlier levels.
Overall food security situation has improved but localized food insecurity persists
The food security situation has improved since 2009 after the end of the 25-year old conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Government forces in 2009. Most of the IDP camps are now closed but based on Government statistics compiled by UNHCR, still some 80 216 people are estimated to be displaced as of mid?2013, living mostly with host families. The increase in rice prices, the main staple in the country, is also hampering access to food for large numbers of the low?income population.
TheCropSite News Desk