Rice prices will stabilise soon - Secretary
There is no scarcity of rice in Sri Lanka and with the completion of
the harvest for the Maha season the prices will be stable, said
Secretary, Ministry of Trade Marketing Development Co-operatives and
Consumer Services, Dr. R.M.K. Ratnayake.
He said the global food crisis is a short term problem and with the
demand for food in the world the problem will be resolved soon because
many countries have increased its production of food, making good use of
the rain. Australia and India have benefited from the rainy weather.
We will not run short of rice as the Yala harvest is expected to be
better than in previous years. Sri Lanka will import 100,000 mt of rice
from Myanmar which will be used as a buffer stock to control price
escalations during the year,” Dr. Ratnayake said.
The government fixed a maximum wholesale and retail price for rice to
solve the marketing issues and ease the burden of the people. Price
control was imposed on samba, nadu, red and white rice. The maximum
retail price for rice ranges from Rs. 50-70.
With the vast acreage of land in the East for paddy cultivation and
the subsidies granted to farmers there would be no difficulty in meeting
the country’s annual requirement of 2 million mt.
“The government decided to import rice this year assuming that there
may be some difficulty to buy rice from international markets. Although
75,000 mt of rice was imported last year, rice was not imported the
The Secretary said the UN World Food Program (WFP) which identified
Sri Lanka as one of the hot spots for global hunger was not true since
Sri Lanka has always been self-sufficient in rice and there was no
scarcity of food in the country.
“The UN is not an expert to forecast the situation in Sri Lanka but
it could make its own report.
We are expecting a better Yala harvest due to the abundance of
water”, he said. The UN WFP has identified 11 countries as global hot
spots for hunger and added that if no steps are taken to address the
problem the situation will worsen.
The steep rise in prices and the shortage of food has created a major
crisis in many poorer countries in the African, Latin American and Asian
The global food crisis is affecting mostly countries that spend over
50 per cent of its family income on food consumption.
He said today the food crisis has become acute due to the shift from
agricultural production to bio-fuel, drop in production caused by
adverse weather conditions and increase in consumption due to prosperity
in China and India.