Sufficient agri produce supply forecast despite floods

Tuesday, 22 March 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Shezna Shums

The Socio Economic and Planning Centre of the Department of Agriculture in its latest crop forecast indicates that the current Maha production for paddy would be sufficient up to mid September 2011.

However when it comes to the supply of vegetables given that a large portion of cultivated lands have been destroyed, the Department of Agriculture noted that the supply of low country vegetables would be much less during the season.

The extent under paddy cultivation for Maha 2010/2011 season is 795,223 hectares, which is 98 percent of the target and about 25% of the cultivated extent which is 216,000 hectares has been harvested. About 27 percent of cultivated paddy lands has been damaged due to floods and the production loss due to the floods is 0.72 million metric tonnes which is about 23 percent of the total production.

The expected reduction in yield due to extreme weather (clouds, low grain filling, diseases, etc.) is 0.36 million metric tonnes. The revised production forecast for the season now stands at 2.02 million metric tonnes.

The status of Other Field Crops (OFCs) stands at 141,000 hectares which is about 78 percent of the target.

The total flood affected area is 36,826 hectares which is 25 percent of the total cultivated extent and the production forecast (after allowing for flood damage) of maize, potato and cowpea is 6 percent, 10 percent and 24 percent respectively which is higher than the production during the previous Maha, said the Department of Agriculture.

The progress in vegetable cultivation — up country and low country — is about 71 percent and 82 percent respectively of the target.

The total affected area due to extreme weather conditions is 11,933 hectares which is about 26 percent of the total cultivated extent the Department of Agriculture has said.

Stressing more on the paddy situation the Department of Agriculture noted that harvesting of paddy in about 25 percent of the cultivated extent had been completed. The Department said that this included Kurunegala, Kegalle and Gampaha Districts. More than 50 percent of the cultivated area has been harvested in Ampara, Matara, Galle, Puttalam and Anuradhapura Districts.

Paddy production during 2010/2011 season it was said would be sufficient to meet the requirement of the country up to end October 2011.

Even in a worse scenario, where the yield of the Maha harvest falls by a further 15 percent still Maha yield would be sufficient up to mid September.

As crop damage is high in the commercial paddy producing districts the reduction of commercial stocks could affect the seasonal supply levels of rice.

However it could be safely deduced that the improvement of commercial stocks could be expected from Kurunegala, Hambantota, Moneragala and Mahaweli areas.

Other Field Crops (OFC)

The cultivation progress of OFC up to end of February is 140,997 hectares which is 78 percent of the target.

The total flood affected area of lands cultivated with OFCs is 36,826 hectares which is 25 percent from the total cultivated extent. It has mainly been reported from Anuradhapura, Vavuniya and Ampara Districts.

The expected maize production of Maha 2010/2011 season (after allowing for production losses due to floods) is 135,880 metric tonnes.

Maha 2010/2011 season’s production would be sufficient to satisfy the domestic demand up to early October 2011.

If Yala production is same as in 2010 Yala the expected maize production for the year

2011 will be about 170,000 metric tonnes.

Finger millet production which was 3,103 metric tonnes in Maha 2010/2011 is expected to decline by 50 percent.

The adjusted production forecast for cowpea which is 10,124 metric tonnes is 24 percent higher than the Maha 2009/2010 production.

Green gram (6,870 metric tonnes) and black gram (6,018 metric tonnes) expected productions are 10 percent and 35 percent lower than the previous Maha production.

Expected production of the condiment, red onion is (28, 897metric tonnes ) and chilli (7,592 metric tonnes ) is 9 percent and 4 percent lower than the previous Maha production.

When it comes to oil crops, the production forecasts of ground nut and gingelly are 76 percent and 78 percent of the previous Maha production.

Potato production for Maha 2010/2011 season  is 28,751metric tonnes and it is 10 percent above the production of the previous Maha.

The major producing district of OFCs and its production are cowpea from Ampara - 5,579 metric tonnes, black gram from Anuradhapura - 3,456metric tonnes, green gram from Hambantota - 2,246metric tonnes, red onion from Jaffna - 14,379metric tonnes, chillies from Anuradhapura 3,809 metric tonnes.

Other recorded figures from the Department of Agriculture are Oil crops such as Ground nut from Moneragala - 3,435metric tonnes, Gingelly from Hambantota - 514 metric tonnes, and Potatoes from Badulla - 18,519 metric tonnes.


When it comes to vegetables, the Department of Agriculture noted that the cultivation progress of up country vegetables and low country vegetables are 71 percent and 82 percent respectively of the targeted yields.

Nearly 26 percent of cultivation areas of vegetables have been affected due to floods and extreme weather during Maha 2010/2011.

Around 25 percent of the total vegetable production of up country vegetables was lost due to heavy rains.

Production losses are mainly reported from Anuradhapura (5,244 hectares), Trincomalee (536 hectares), Batticaloa (532 hectares) and Ampara (936 hectares) and these losses account for 79 percent, 65 percent, 94 percent and 46 percent of the total cultivation progress of the respective districts.

Therefore the supply of low country vegetables would be much lower during the season.

This report provides the forecast for food crop sector and it is based on the information provided by the Provincial Departments of Agriculture, Mahaweli Authority, Extension and Training Division of Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Management Centre: Department of Agriculture and Department of Irrigation. The forecast is based on the average yield for the past 3 seasons.