Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera points out that the prices of rice are likely to increase in the near future as the government does not have buffer stocks of rice and paddy, and that the private sector owns the largest buffer stock of rice and paddy.

Accordingly, steps will be taken to brief the Cabinet of Ministers on how the increase in rice prices would affect the consumers, the minister added.

Meanwhile, a total extent of 46,904 acres of paddy cultivation was destroyed by the prevailing drought as of August 21, according to the report handed over to the Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera by the Agricultural and Agrarian Insurance Board which currently assesses the damages to paddy fields.

The report also mentions that the number of farmers affected by the crop damages stands at 41,402, the ministry said in a statement.

Furthermore, the highest extent of crop damage has been reported from the Kurunegala District, which is estimated at 23,286 acres of land. The number of affected farmers in the district has increased to 27,904, the Agricultural Ministry emphasized.

The second highest extent of crop damage is reported from the Udawalawe area. Accordingly, 14,667.5 acres of cultivation land have suffered damages in this area, while the number of farmers affected is 5,867.