In a landmark move Sri Lanka is to donate 7,500 metric tonnes of rice to Somalia, a minister said yesterday.
Cabinet decided to donate 7,500 MT of rice to Somalia and a paddy stock of 15,000 MT will be released from Ampara in the Eastern Province and Polonnaruwa in the North Central Province to produce rice for the purpose.
Sri Lanka expects a bumper paddy harvest during its main rice cultivation season as several thousands of acres in the north and east have been additionally brought under paddy cultivation. The region is one of the main producers of rice and has increased yields since the end of a three decade war in 2009.
Somalia is the fourth large-scale African food crisis so far this century. Non-governmental organizations say that two people per 10,000 die each day, acute malnutrition rates are above 30 percent, all livestock is dead, and there is less than 2,100 kilocalories of food and 4 litres of water available per person each day.
Sri Lanka by contrast has an excess of paddy and is attempting to export it to primarily African countries.
Meanwhile as per the Minister of Co-operative and Internal Trade, storage facility is available for 100,000 MT of paddy in the 2011/12 Maha season. It was also revealed that storage facilities for additional 50,000 MT in Maha season are also available with the Paddy Marketing Boards in the paddy growing districts.
Apart from the above, storage facilities available with the Co-operative Societies and those constructed at Oyamaduwa under the Deyata Kirula 2012 project would also be used for storage purpose.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Government has intervened with paddy purchasing to maintain price stability in the market. Government purchases Samba Paddy at Rs.30 per Kg and Nadu at Rs.28 per Kg.