Sri Lanka expects Yala rice harvest to be down 35-pct

  •  ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka expects to harvest 988,000 metric tonnes of paddy (rough rice) during the ongoing drought stricken Yala minor cultivation season, down 35 percent from a year earlier, the lowest in a decade, data from the state agriculture agency showed.

    The latest forecast based on cultivation progress up to June, has been upped from 789,000 tonnes based on May data.Farmers had already been advised to use water sparingly and plant less water intensive crops than rice this season due to a drought. Though Sri Lanka's wet zone had received rains and floods from rains, the rest of the country is still dry until the North East monsoon in September and many irrigation tanks are dry or low in water as a result of last year's drought. The Department of Irrigation said up to June, 254,967 hectares out of a target of 400,020 had been sown. In 2016, also a drought year, 386,000 hectares were sown. Floods and droughts had fully or partially damaged 5,539 hectares of rice which will result in 16,122 metric tonnes of crop losses, leaving an estimated 988,329 metric tonnes to be harvested. After adjusting for wastage and seed paddy, about 870,000 metric tonnes are expected to be available for milling which will result in 590,000 metric tonnes of milled rice from the 2017 Yala season. Sri Lanka's main Maha season was estimated to have produced a harvest of 1.48 million tonnes of rough rice, generating 920,000 metric tonnes of milled rice. The estimated deficit based on usual consumption patterns is 851,000 metric tonnes for 2017. However accurate estimates of stock held by large millers is not available according industry estimates. Rice prices have already moved up, and some consumers will shift a part of their consumption to substitutes like wheat flour, reducing total demand. The government has cut import taxes to make it easier to import rice and is also expected to stop enforcing price controls, which distorts the market. (Colombo/Aug23/2017)
  • Sri Lanka considers four suppliers to buy 100000 MT rice

  • Thu, Jul 6, 2017, 09:47 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka. July 06, Colombo: Following a first round of assessment, Sri Lanka has decided to take a closer look at four international rice suppliers to meet its urgent market needs, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said today. On the directions of President Maithripala Sirisena, Sri Lanka plans to purchase 100,000 metric tons of rice to meet its needs and has decided to test rice samples of Indonesia, Myanmar and Pakistan. Minister Bathiudeen during a discussion held on Thursday with his officials on the progress of rice procurement from abroad, said a team of technical officials including officials and food technologists from Sri Lanka are to visit these countries and test rice samples after which the government will decide on the final supplier from Colombo. Sri Lanka is looking to buy 100,000 MT par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba from the chosen supplier. "This will be Government to Government procurement - a speedy way to get rice for our domestic market," the Minister said. "If necessary we are open for private sectors support in the supplier countries as well," he added. He disclosed that Sri Lanka is also talking for another 100,000 MT rice, from India, the details of which have to be finalized. The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under the minister will be the focal point for the effort Minister Bathiudeen last month held discussions with the envoys of Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan on finding a supplier of rice to Sri Lanka.  
  • Sri Lanka in talks to import rice from three countries

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    Sri Lanka has opened immediate talks with three countries on 22 June to procure a rice tranche to stabilize its domestic markets. “We are looking for par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba categories now” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 22 June in Colombo. Minister Bathiudeen, joined by Secretary of Ministry of Industry and Commerce Chinthana Lokuhetti and Director General of Finance Ministry PMB Atapattu, was addressing HE Ambassador Designate of Thailand to Sri Lanka Mrs Chulamanee Chartsuwan, HE Ambassador of Indonesia to Sri Lanka Gusti Ngurah Ardiyasa and Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad Khan Sipra on the afternoon of 22 June at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. “I invited you here on the directive of HE the President Maithripala Sirisena who aims to strengthen our domestic rice supply. At this week’s Cabinet meeting, the concerned HE President instructed me to open Government to Government level talks with you for speedy procurement of rice for our domestic market, the reason for inviting you here immediately” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen addressing HE Ambassadors, and added: “We note with satisfaction of the continued friendly relations and surging trade we have been having with your nations over the years. At this time, our call is different. We are keen to procure rice for Sri Lanka from you through a Government to Government process, but are open for your private sectors’ support as well if necessary. The Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) under me will be the focal point for this effort and will be in contact with you continuously. After one of you are picked as the supplier of this volume, based on a transparent international procurement process, our expert team consisting of my officials, food technologists, and rice experts will arrive in your country to inspect and certify the entire stock before it would be shipped to Colombo. We are looking for par-boiled (Nadu) and Samba categories at this moment. We can start with 300,000 MT. Even if Sri Lanka would choose one of you as the supplier in this case and leave the others, we are still eagerly looking forward to enhance bilateral trade with all of you-in many other ways.” All the HE Ambassadors present pledged immediate support to Minister Bathiudeen and HE President’s efforts to procure the rice tranche. They also clarified the processes of Government to Government procurement at a time like this in their respective nations to Minister Bathiudeen and Secretary Lokuhetti. The HE Ambassadors from Indonesia and Pakistan even came forward to say that despite the Eid Ul Fitr holidays starting this Saturday 24 June (which continues for a few days) in their countries, they shall immediately get in touch with their respective governments as soon as Sri Lanka sends its bidding details and gives them the go-ahead. Minister Bathiudeen and the HE Ambassadors also delved in to other aspects of future bilateral cooperation at the 22 June meet.
  • Sri Lanka rice millers refuse to sell at controlled prices

  • ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's rice millers have refused to sell rice at rates dictated by the state price control authority and are asking for higher prices. Sri Lanka's Consumer Affairs Authority, the agency that slaps price controls on anything from hoppers to a cup of tea, issued controlled prices of Rs80 for a kilogram of Samba rice, Rs72 for Nadu (a parboiled rice) and Rs70 for Kekulu (raw rice), exposing the flaws of Sri Lanka's economic policies to the world. Sri Lanka's rice prices surged after the drought due to import taxes blocking foreign rice from entering the country. The millers wanted a price of Rs90 for a kilo of Samba, Rs87 for Nadu and Rs80 for Red Raw. Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror newspaper said the call for higher prices was issued following a meeting in Polonnaruwa with about 120 rice processors. They came from Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Marandagahamula, Kekirawa, Kantale, Nikaweratiya, Anamaduwa and Tissamaharama. Rice millers wanted a meeting with President Sirisena. Unlike small shopkeepers who are dragged to court by the Consumer Affairs Authority, large millers have political clout. Among the largest rice millers is Dudley Sirisena, brother of President Maithripala Sirisena. Most millers who bought rice last year had acquired them at lower prices. Millers have also been given credit from state banks in the past to buy rice. But millers also have to maintain warehouses to store rice for long periods. At state warehouses, rice deteriorate quickly and is sold as animal feed. Somewhat higher rice prices now could potentially allow millers to buy rice at the upcoming Maha season paddy (rough rice) at higher prices, giving higher incomes to farmers, many of whom grew lower volumes of rice. However, many farmers had crops destroyed or did not grow rice this season at all. Meanwhile, in an unusual move, which is not expected of the current administration that has acquired a reputation for policy blunders including price controls, the finance ministry cut the import tax on rice to Rs5 a kilo from Rs15, allowing foreign rice to come in. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said anyone could import rice and government agencies would stay out of the market. Analysts say a regular flow of foreign rice can stabilise prices regardless of whether local millers sell or not. (Colombo/Feb13/2017)
  • Five Myanmar firms to export rice to Sri Lanka

  • Yangon, 13 February, (Asiantribune.com):
    Five companies have won contracts for the export of 50,000 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka by June, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. Commerce minister Dr Than Myint held talks with a delegation led by the Sri Lanka ambassador to Myanmar, KWND Karunaratne, at his office in Nay Pyi Taw on January 23 and signed a memorandum of understanding on rice exports. An MRF official said: “We invited companies to submit bids for rice exports to Sri Lanka. Only 10 companies applied. Of them, we have selected five companies.” Sri Lanka’s rice production has declined by about 200,000 tonnes after a drought last year. Sri Lanka is reducing rising rice prices and the control of rice millers by reducing import tariffs. Since April, Myanmar has exported 1.15 million tonnes of rice and broken rice, down nearly 150,000 tonnes from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. With more countries offering to buy rice from Myanmar, exports are expected to reach last year’s level, said Khin Maung Lwin, assistant permanent secretary of the ministry. In 2015-16, the country exported 1.5 million tonnes of rice. Myanmar has exported rice to Sri Lanka in the past, but only in small quantities and without any agreement at the government level.