Production Forecasts Down 13.40%-69.69%
By Paneetha Ameresekere
Food inflation is likely to continue at current elevated levels considering that the estimated production levels of 11 out of 12 ‘other field crops’ (OFCs) in respect of ‘Yala 2021’ captured by the Agriculture Department last Monday (25 July) trailed behind between 13.40 per cent and 69.69 per cent vi-a-vis the final Yala 2020 production estimates. OFCs are food crops other than fruits and vegetables.
Meanwhile, Colombo food inflation last month (July) was 11.00 per cent, while countrywide food inflation in June was 9.8 per cent. There generally is a lag period of three weeks between the release of countrywide food inflation and Colombo inflation by Census and Statistics Department.
In related developments, the 11 OFCs which production forecasts lagged behind Yala 2020 were finger millet down 34.64 per cent ( 875 Metric Tons (MTs)) to 1,651MTs; maize, down 28.47 per cent (14,821 MTs) to 37,246 MTs; cowpea down 39.16 per cent (5,286MTs) to 8,213MTs; soya bean down 34.09 per cent (3,371MTs) to 6,518 MTs; ground nut, down 51.07 per cent (16,364 MTs) to 15,678 MTs; green chillies, down 38.92 per cent (14,173 MTs) to 22,243 MTs.
Green gram down 51.15 per cent (10,959 MTs) to 10,468 MTs; red onions, down 33.17 per cent (13,270mts) to 26,735 MTs; potatoes down 69.69 per cent (36,900 MTs) to 16,051 MTs and big onions, down 50.86 per cent (31,549 MTs) to 30,483 MTs, data showed. Only one OFC’s production forecast was ahead of its final Yala 2020 production forecast. That was black gram which saw its harvest forecast increase by 56.51 per cent (3,246 MTs) to 8,990 MTs.
‘Cultivated extent of OFCs crops as at end June 2021 of Yala 2021 season wa 76,180 hectares equivalent to 70 per cent of the cultivation target,’ Agriculture Department said. Gingerly, black gram, finger millets and cowpea achieved above 65 per cent of their cultivation targets whereas cultivation reported from potato (29 per cent) and big onion (33 per cent) were low figures, it added.