(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The Ministry of Agriculture has decided to immediately implement a program to protect the existing rice stocks in the country in order to face a food shortage that may occur in the future due to the severe drought currently prevailing in the country.
Accordingly, the Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Amaraweera has advised the Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Gunadasa Samarasinghe, to immediately take steps to stop the use of rice for the production of animal feed and beer.
The Minister also instructed to submit a letter prepared in this regard to the Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Consumer Affairs and the Presidential Food Safety Committee.
Due to the prevailing severe drought weather conditions, the farmers are facing the problem of not having enough water for the paddy cultivations to mature.
Especially, over 50,000 acres of paddy fields under the Udawalawe Reservoir are at risk of being destroyed due to lack of water. At least two more shifts of water should be given to these fields.
In Anuradhapura district also there is an acute shortage of water for paddy fields. The Minister of Agriculture said that if there is no significant rainfall in the next few days, there may be a risk of rice shortage in the coming period due to the failure of the expected rice harvest in the Yala season.
Due to this, the Ministry of Agriculture has decided to suspend the use of rice for the production of animal feed and beer in order to protect the existing stocks of rice.
It is reported that about 100,000 metric tons of rice processed from the paddy harvest of the last Maha season has been used for animal feed and beer production.
It was decided to use rice in the production of animal feed to avoid the decline in production of milk, eggs and poultry due to the decline in local maize production, especially for animal feed, and the lack of money to import maize.