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Monday, June 27, 2022

The severe shortage of locally produced rice imminent- SASA

Text and picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA 
The Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association (SASA) warned that there will be a severe shortage of locally produced rice  in the  next two cultivation seasons. The revelation was made by the association’s deputy president Ranjith Ariyarathna while presenting SASA’s proposals for the economic and social resurgence of the nation at the Mahaweli Centre auditorium on Monday (18).
The Sri Lanka Administrative Service is made up of officials in the top echelon of Sri Lanka’s Public Service responsible for the smooth running of the country. As a union, SASA is capable of minimising corruption and bringing any corrupt government to it’s proper senses
SASA believes that wrong economic,  and financial policies and a number of administrative lapses are the root cause of the present crisis in Sri Lanka.
As an example, Ariyarathna pointed out that what the intellectuals proposed was a Green Agriculture policy but what the lawmakers stubbornly implemented was Organic Agriculture!
Ariyarathna pointed out that the annual consumption of rice per year in Sri Lanka was 240,000 metric tonnes but due to the government’s decision to ban the import of chemical fertiliser and pesticides there has been a 50% drop in production and in addition due to the losses suffered in the previous cultivation seasons the extent of land which will be cultivated with paddy would be around 50% to 60% of the normal extent cultivated.  SASA envisage that the shortfall of rice in the next year would be nearly 800,000 metric tonnes. At the present market price, it would cost 250 million USD to import the envisaged shortfall of rice alone.
Quoting figures obtained from the National Fertiliser Secretariat the nation’s annual requirement for chemical fertilisers are 545,983 metric tonnes of Urea, 163,928 metric tonnes of TSP and 317,743 metric tonnes of MOP. The average cost of importing the above in the past was 55 billion rupees and will be much more now.
SASA has come up with short, medium and long term proposals that if implemented would help put Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector back to normal by 2030. The short term measures would be implemented from 1st May 2022 to 31st December 2022 while the medium-term proposals would be implemented in 2023 and 2024 and the long term proposals from 2025 to 2030.

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