Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Friday, Mar 24, 2023

Sri Lanka urges farmers to plant more rice amid crisis

Sri Lanka urges farmers to plant more rice amid crisis

Sri Lanka is calling on farmers to grow more rice as it faces its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years.
The country's agriculture minister made the appeal as he said the country's "food situation is becoming worse".

It comes as severe shortages of essentials, including food, helped to push inflation, the rate at which prices rise, to a new record high.

Also on Tuesday, the government raised taxes to help pay for critical purchases, including fuel and food.

The island nation of 22 million people has been hit hard by the pandemic, rising energy prices, and populist tax cuts.

A chronic shortage of foreign currency and soaring inflation has also led to a shortage of medicines, fuel and other essentials.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told journalists "it is clear the food situation is becoming worse".

"We request all farmers to step into their fields in the next five to ten days and cultivate paddy [rice]," he added.

Sri Lankan officials have been looking for ways to boost food production, as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has warned of severe food shortages by August.

The country is also applying for assistance from a South Asian food bank, which has supplied rice and other goods to countries in need, the Financial Times newspaper reported.

Food commissioner J Krishnamoorthy told the newspaper in an interview that her department had "just started the process" of asking the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for "food bank assistance".

Krishnamoorthy added that Sri Lanka was seeking around 100,000 metric tonnes of food in the form of donations or subsidised sales.

The SAARC is a grouping of eight countries in South Asia. It includes Sri Lanka and India, which is emerging as one of Sri Lanka's biggest providers of aid.

Sri Lanka's Food Commissioners Department and the SAARC did not immediately respond to BBC requests for comment.

On Tuesday, the Sri Lankan government announced an immediate increase to value added tax (VAT) from 8% to 12%. The move is expected to boost government revenue by 65bn Sri Lankan rupees ($179.9m; £142.7m).

It also said corporate tax would rise in October from 24% to 30%.

Earlier this year, then-Sri Lankan financial minister Ali Sabry told the BBC that he saw a need to raise VAT.

He added that the nation needed $4bn (£3.2bn) over the next eight months to pay for imports of daily essentials.

Also on Tuesday, official figures showed that Sri Lanka's rate of inflation rose to a record 39.1% in May, from a year ago. It had reached a previous high of 29.8% in April.

Inflation reduces the purchasing power of money since more money is now needed to buy the same items.

High rates of inflation mean that unless income increases at the same rate, people are worse off. This may cause them to spend less as they make fewer purchases from businesses.

Last month, Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt for the first time in history, when grace period to come up with $78m of unpaid debt interest payments expired.

Defaults happen when governments are unable to meet some or all of their debt payments to creditors.

It can damage a country's reputation with investors, making it harder for it to borrow the money it needs on international markets, which can further harm confidence in its currency and economy.

Related Articles

Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Mexican President Claims Mexico is Safer than the U.S.
A brief banking situation report
Lady bites police officer and gets instantly reaction
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has apologized, but not resigned, yet, following the disruption of sports programmes over the weekend
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Senator Tom Cotton: If the Mexican Government Won’t Stop Cartels from Killing Americans, Then U.S. Government Should
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Don Lemon, a CNN anchor, has provided a list of five areas that he believes the black community needs to address.
Hello. Here is our news digest from London.
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
Givenchy Store in New York Robbed of $50,000 in Merchandise
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Former U.S. President Carter will spend his remaining time at home and receive hospice care instead of medication
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History
White House: No ETs over the United States
U.S. Jet Shoots Down Flying Object Over Canada
Being a Tiktoker might be expensive…
SpaceX, the private space exploration company, made a significant breakthrough in their mission to reach space.
China's top tech firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, NetEase, and JD.com, are developing their own versions of Open AI's AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT
This shocking picture, showing how terrible is the results of the earthquake in Turkey
President Joe Biden delivered the 2023 State of the Union Address , in order to help Americans that missed the 2022 speech, do not have internet, and suffer from short memory.
The desk of King Carlos Alberto of Sardinia has many secret compartments
Today's news from Britain - 9th February 2023