Since the country has become self-sufficient in rice, green gram, cowpeas, black gram, kurakkan and groundnuts there is no need to import these items again this year, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
Due to the collapse of rice and other local food crop production caused by the ban on chemical fertilizers in 2021, more than 800,000 tons of rice was imported by Sri Lanka at a cost of USD 400 million in 2022. Other food crops had to be imported similarly.
Accordingly, the government did not have to import rice till now in 2023. In 2023, there is a situation where there may be a surplus of 300,000 tons of rice.
The annual requirement of rice for this country is 2.4 million tons. With the harvest of the last Maha season, it has been possible to produce 2.7 million tons of rice. Therefore, there is no need to import rice again this year, Amaraweera added.
The annual requirement of green gram in this country is 20,000 tons. During this year, green gram cultivation has begun widely in Hambantota district and the farmers have been given the necessary facilities for green gram cultivation in several districts during the intermediate season. During this year alone, 13,439 tons of green beans have been harvested.
The annual requirement of cowpea in Sri Lanka is 15,000 tons. According to the Agriculture Department, the country’s cowpea production this year is 13,740 tons.
The annual requirement of Black gram (Undhu) in this country is 20,000 tons. Black Grams harvest in 2023 is 17,866 tons.
The annual requirement of ground nuts in this country is 35,000 tons. This year, the ground nut harvest is 36,498 tons.
The annual requirement of Kurakkan (Finger Millets) in this country is 10,000 tons. Kurakkan harvest in this year has reached 6,408 metric tons.
Minister Amaraweera instructed the Agriculture Department to encourage the farmers to grow green gram, cowpea and black gram and to provide the necessary facilities and give priority to the cultivation of additional crops as much as possible in the intermediate season which is cultivated after this year’s yala season.