Sri Lanka Eyes More Corn Output for Thriposha
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Sri Lanka produces about 250,000 metric tons of Corn and has a national requirement of 600,000 metric tons. According to reports, the poultry feed requirement is around 400,000 metric tons, and the dairy sector consumes another 200,000 metric tons of Corn as cattle feed. Production of Corn increased steadily between 2017 and 2021, mainly reflecting a sustained expansion of the planted area driven by the growing demand for feed and the Government support as part of an import substitution program.
Farmers mainly cultivate imported high-yielding hybrid varieties that require a substantial application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Production of Corn, which mostly takes place during the “Maha” season, was severely affected by the low availability and high prices of agricultural inputs in 2022. Agriculture Department Director (Development) Ajantha De Silva reported that the Field Crop Research and Development Institute at Mahailuppallama developed a new variety of hybrid Corn which produces a higher yield than the typical Corn variety available.
The planted area is officially estimated at 73 000 hectares, 30 percent below the previous year’s level, and yields declined by about 45 percent yearly. Overall, the 2022 aggregate Corn output is estimated at 187 000 tons, over 60 percent below the 2021 level and 40 percent below the previous five-year average. The sharp decline in domestic production and the country’s inability to import to fill the gap had a severe negative impact on the poultry and livestock industries.
According to AgFlow data, Sri Lanka’s Corn production, domestic consumption, harvested area, and yields for MY 2022/2023 are estimated at 273,000 tons, 310,000 tons, 70,000 hectares, and 3.9 MT/Ha, respectively. The Corn Marketing year in Sri Lanka starts in May and Ends in April.
Sri Lankan Land Lease for Corn
Sri Lanka will lease 2,750 acres of under-utilized land to potential investors for one year to produce 250,000 metric tons of Corn that will be used in the production of Thriposha and other animal foods, the Government Department of Information (GDI) announced in February 2021. Land from the Rambaken Oya zone, controlled by the Sri Lanka Mahaveli Authority and does not come under any reserve, will be allocated for this purpose to encourage local agricultural producers to produce Corn at a large scale locally.
The DGI said the Corn cultivated in these lands would be used in producing Thriposha, a local cereal with high-nutrition content provisioned free of charge for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and infants with nutritional deficiencies. Thrioposha is also used as animal feed.
The Cabinet of Ministers noted that the Government took measures to limit the import of food crops designated for cultivation within the country to control foreign exchange influx. The proposal submitted by the Minister of Irrigation for allocating the relevant plot of lands for one year to potential local investors was approved by the Cabinet. The statement further said the extension of lease period would depend on the progress of cultivation adhering to the Crown Lands Ordinance.
The country was importing the balance mainly from India and Ukraine. Amid all this, the country has a vast armyworm infestation issue. Sri Lanka’s Corn crop has been hit by fall armyworms since 2019, and several mitigation procedures were followed. Sri Lanka’s egg production took a huge hit in 2020 when farmers couldn’t feed their chickens. The same year, the Government also decided to allocate an additional 30,000 hectares (74,130 acres) of arable lands to cultivate Corn, increasing the total extent of the lands used for Corn cultivation to 110,000 hectares (271,800 acres).
Other sources: ECONOMYNEXT
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