RICE: Economic Boom or Bust?
Bojoon.com and CIC has teamed up to review one of the most
controversial debates of Sri Lanka - is rice as an industry worth the
The discussion so far...
Rice as an industry comes under heavy fire as an unprofitable venture
notes Dr. Sumith Abeysiriwardena - Senior Consultant Researcher of CIC
Agri Businesses. Yet, he points out, instead of being abandoned as such,
rice production over the last 6 decades has increased by 12 times!
He points out the tremendous demand for rice, ease of handling the
grain, especially in terms of storage, and as a crop the only use that
can be made out of marshy lands. He continues that with our technology
and our unique hydraulic systems our productivity is high and asserts
that history has proven that rice is more than our staple, but also our
stronghold against our many enemies.
He describes while countries like Australia is making a concentrated
effort to create a viable export and domestic industry, we have
decreased our rice consumption for wheat, making us vulnerable to
adverse foreign influences. He feels that though buffer stock comes with
its own set of problems, it provides a good solution to stabilize our
The discussion continues:
Agriculture can be a vicious cycle, says Dr. Abeysiriwardena. In
agriculture, the lead times are relatively long. This is the time gap
from planting to harvesting. When there is a demand, prices go up.
The shorter the supply, the more acute the demand is felt and the
greater the price increase. When the prices increase, it is seen as that
particular crop is a profitable crop. Hence, more growers invest their
time and labour in growing that crop. However, by the time this crop
comes to fruition, prices have done down as now there is a surplus of
This is further compounded by the many unpredictable factors like
weather that agriculture depends on largely for a successful harvest. In
the same manner there are many other factors like insect infestations
and diseases that can affect a crop and even destroy it. Both these
factors are unpredictable and often unpreventable. This makes estimating
the harvest to come that much difficult, says Dr. Abeysiriwardena.
It is possible to bridge the gaps of shortfall until the next harvest
season by importing the amount required to fulfill the short supply and
many governments resort to doing so.
However, there are instances like the recent worldwide shortage in
rice that can put a severe constrain on the rice market. This can
effects the economy of a country as a whole and almost always impact the
economically challenged sector of the society, notes Dr.
Taking the recent experience of couple of the neighbours, Dr.
Abeysiriwardena points out that Indonesia, the largest food grain
importer was stunned by the sudden increase in prices and the potential
shortage of rice. Though Indonesia agreed to pay 62% more than what they
did a mere month ago, they still failed to buy the full quantity of the
rice it sought. This has led Philippines to call for the creation of an
international buffer stock to ensure global food security.
Malaysia too seems to agree with Philippines and have increased their
own buffer stocks from 92,000 tonnes to 290,000 tonnes. This, notes Dr.
Abeysiriwardena, will serve Malaysia as a strategic reserve for about
one and a half months. As the current supply in Malaysia is adequate for
Malaysia to feed her people, the additional stock will act as a security
against the tight global supply.
India too has doubled its buffer stock from 5.2 million tonnes to
10.05 million tonnes in the space of 2 months. The Indian government
fixes its buffer stock every quarter to ensure an adequate supply of
Thus, shows Dr. Abeysiriwardena, the importance many of our
neighbouring countries places in creating and maintaining a buffer
stock. For a myriad of reasons, the unstable grain supply can create
huge constraint on a country, forcing it to spend much of its valued
foreign exchange on the world market in search of adequate food. A good
solution to avoid such vulnerability is to create a buffer stock,
reiterates Dr. Abeysiriwardena.
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Pamper your father at the Mount
The Mount Lavinia Hotel would be hosting the Father's Day with an
extravagant Father's Day lunch at the Governor's restaurant on Sunday
Additional to lunch, all fathers receive a 10-minute head massage and
a family photograph and many other complimentary offers.
Parents could also take a dip with in the pool or spend some quality
time by the Indian Ocean.
If the father prefers a nice quiet dinner, he can be accompanied to
the Seafood Cove for an extra special evening on the beach at the
If you wish to 'wow' your father with a magnificent view at a world
famous watering hole, he can be entertained at the Terrace and the
Governor's restaurant for Chefs Specials where the hotel Chefs go way
In this day and age of a rushed rat-race existence where time is the
most precious commodity, make time to show him your love, gratitude and
admiration this Father's Day at the legendary Mount Lavinia Hotel.
Father's Day was the brainchild of an American lady named Sonora
Dodd. She first thought of it in 1909 while listening to a Mother's Day
sermon in church.
Sonora's mother died when Sonora was very young, while giving birth
to her sixth sibling. There on, it was William Smart, Sonora's father
who took on the role of both parents. Smart was a Civil War veteran,
left to look after a newborn and five children by himself on a rural
farm in Washington. After Sonora became an adult she realized the
selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single
It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in
the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.
Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first
Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19 June, 1910.