Sri Lanka Achieves Rice Self-Sufficiency in 2023
January 15, Colombo (LNW): Agriculture and Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera commended Sri Lankan farmers for preventing the importation of rice in 2023, despite facing challenges. Speaking at the inauguration of a coconut by-product village for export in the Kachchigalara area of Barawakumbuka on Saturday (13), the Minister highlighted the significant achievement that saved the country foreign exchange.
Minister Amaraweera revealed that in 2022, Sri Lanka had imported 800,000 metric tons of rice at a cost of US$ 300 million. However, due to the efforts of local farmers, not a single grain of rice was imported in 2023, marking a substantial saving for the country.
The Minister acknowledged the demand for coir and other coconut products in China, along with the growing industry’s contribution to generating foreign exchange, particularly from Dubai. He inaugurated the production factory for the coconut by-product village in the presence of Chinese representatives.
Despite challenges such as floods affecting rice cultivation in the current season, Minister Amaraweera expressed confidence, based on Agriculture Department inquiries, that overall rice harvest would not be significantly impacted. He assured that there would be no need to import rice in 2024 and urged immediate action to commence cultivation for the upcoming Yala Season.
To diversify agricultural activities, the Minister instructed the Agriculture Department and the Agricultural Development Department to inform farmers about the cultivation of additional crops such as green gram, cowpea, and maize in lands under small-scale tanks. This strategic approach aims to enhance agricultural productivity and further contribute to the nation’s self-sufficiency.