Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sri Lanka rice gifted to Somalia

Oct 23, 2011 (LBO) - Sri Lanka has gifted 250 metric tonnes of rice to Somalia as domestic production increased, economic development minister Basil Rajapaksa said.

This year no rice has been imported to the country, Rajapaksa told an 'investor's day' in Colombo Saturday. "Our paddy stores are now full," Rajapasksa said. "We have three seasons of harvests. Up to now we have got rice from the World Food Program to be given to refugees.
"But last month President (Mahinda Rajapaksa) was able to gift 250 metric tonnes of rice produced by our farmers to Somalia, I am proud to say."
Sri Lanka's farmers cannot produce grades of rice that are internationally traded and the country's rice prices have also been above the rest of the rest of the world amid protectionist taxes.
In recent years Sri Lanka has also blocked citizen's access to alternative carbohydrates such as wheat and potatoes with high import duties to push the population to eat domestic produce.
Sri Lanka has had some of the highest prices for rice despite rice farmers being given heavily subsidized fertilizer. Fertilizer subsidies cost the people about 250 million dollars a year in taxes. Analysts have warned that artificially high food prices would worsen malnutrition among the poor.
But for several years Sri Lanka's rice prices have remained static around 60 rupees a kilogram and world prices have caught up amid a weakening US dollar. Sri Lanka has kept the rupee firmly pegged to the US dollar for several years

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