Parakrama Samaratunga

Sri Lanka as a Rice Exporting Country: Possibilities and Problems

The Budget 2012 presented last month touches on agriculture at several points. However, the proposal to establish “four rice export zones” stands out as the most provocative, in an economic sense, amongst all of them. Sri Lanka has just achieved near self-sufficiency in rice. But the rice sector, including both production and consumption, is still plagued with a multitude of economic and social problems. Against this backdrop, a proposal to commit resources to promote rice export raises a number of questions ranging from “is it possible” to “at what cost and for whose benefit”. This article seeks to take a deeper look into this complex issue.