FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
2015 main season “Maha” rice crop forecast to recover from last year’s drought-reduced level
Considerably higher rice imports estimates for 2014
Rice prices remain at near-record levels, while those of wheat are stable
Recent floods affected food availability in localized areas
2015 main season “Maha” rice crop forecast to recover from last year’s drought-reduced output Harvesting of the 2015 mostly irrigated main season “Maha” rice crop, accounting for about 65 percent of annual production, started in mid-January, with the bulk to be collected between February and March. Favourable rainfall from October to January over the eastern, central and northwestern major rice growing areas benefitted planting operations and replenished irrigation water in the reservoirs. However, heavy rains in late November and December caused localized flooding in key rice producing areas in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country. Preliminary official estimates indicate losses of 410 246 tonnes of paddy rice, particularly in Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa districts. Considering the estimated flood damage and assuming near-average yields, FAO forecasts the 2015 ‘’Maha” season paddy output at 2.7 million tonnes, up 19 percent from the drought-reduced 2014 ‘’Maha’’ crop season.
Harvesting of the 2015 main season ‘’Maha’’ maize crop, is currently ongoing and will continue until the end of March. Latest official forecasts put the 2015 main season ‘’Maha’’ maize production at 271 091 tonnes, up 21 percent from the 2013 same season level. The projected increase is the result of a 40 percent expansion in the area planted which is expected to more than compensate for a small decrease in yields, following recent floods. Assuming an average forthcoming 2015 ‘’Yala’’ secondary crop, FAO tentatively forecasts the 2015 aggregate maize production at 300 000 tonnes, 15 percent above the 2014 bumper output.