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Country Briefs

  Sri Lanka

Reference Date: 22-September-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Paddy production to decline in 2016

  2. Rice imports forecast to fall in 2016

  3. Rice and wheat prices declined in recent months

  4. Floods in May affected large numbers of people

Paddy production to decline in 2016

Harvesting of the 2016 secondary “yala paddy crop, which accounts for 35 percent of the annual production, is nearing completion. The latest official estimate puts the 2016 “yala” paddy output at 1.6 million tonnes, 19 percent below last year’s record level. The sharp reduction reflects a contraction in the area sown, due to unfavourable weather conditions in the main producing areas. The 2016 main “maha” crop, which was harvested in March, is officially estimated at a record level of 2.9 million tonnes, mostly due to higher plantings. Overall, the aggregate paddy production in 2016 is estimated at 4.5 million tonnes, 7 percent below last year’s record level, but still 9 percent above the five‑year average.

The 2016 aggregate maize output is estimated by FAO at 280 000 tonnes, up 6 percent from the 2015 record, reflecting an increase of both area planted and yields.

Rice imports forecast to fall in 2016

Total cereal imports in 2016 are forecast at 1.3 million tonnes, down 17 percent from last year’s high level. The decrease is the result of lower rice imports, which are forecast to return to an about‑normal level of 30 000 tonnes after the high levels in the previous two years. Despite a lower output in 2016, it is estimated that the country holds sufficient stocks to meet consumption needs, following the record harvest and high imports in 2015. Imports of wheat, which is not produced domestically, are anticipated to remain at last year’s high level of 1.2 million tonnes, reflecting strong domestic demand.

Rice and wheat prices declined in recent months

After gradual increases between April and June, rice prices declined since July, reflecting improved availabilities in the market following the release of Government stocks and new supplies from the 2016 “yala” harvest. Similarly, wheat prices decreased in recent months, on account of a high level of imports.

Floods in May 2016 affected large numbers of people

According to official estimates, floods in mid‑May adversely affected at least 300 000 people, mainly in the Northern, Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces of the country. In these areas, paddy output is expected to decrease, negatively impacting on livelihoods of affected households.