We won’t need to import rice in 2023 – Amaraweera

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While Sri Lanka is struggling to feed its citizens three meals a day owing to the looming food crisis, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Mahinda Amaraweera expressed confidence that the country would no longer need to import rice in next year due to a plan being developed by the Government.

In the weekly Cabinet media briefing yesterday (31) he said, the Government is confident that Sri Lanka will be able to overcome the looming ‘global food crisis’ and will no longer require rice imports in 2023. He also said, the Government will no longer import rice after the next Maha season and that Sri Lankans will be self-sufficient of rice.

“I can say with confidence. We have a programme in place that includes inputs of all the stakeholders. Rice is currently in short supply. At the moment, the Minister of Trade is preparing to import rice. This year, large quantities of rice must be imported. However, a plan is being developed to stop rice imports beginning next year and to manufacture necessary stocks in the country,” he said.

In addition, he noted that 338,000 metric tons of rice have been imported in January this year to date. We will have to import more in coming months. The Paddy Marketing Board has procured 40,000 metric tons of rice and sold it to Sathosa. Plans will be made to distribute the rice through supermarkets as well, the Minister added.

“I request the media not to discourage farmers from resuming cultivation. I request that the media understand the global crisis that is unfolding. It is fine to criticise us, but please do not discourage farmers from cultivating,” he said.

By Thameenah Razeek