Sri Lanka to export rice to emerging markets and WFP

Updated: 2011-10-04 11:54:00

(Xinhua)

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COLOMBO, October 4 (Xinhua) - Sri Lanka is to begin rice exports to emerging markets and the World Food Programme (WFP) for the first time, officials said here on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B Jayasundara told reporters that Sri Lanka is focusing on agriculture to increase exports, promote food security and reduce cost of living within the country.  

Even though Sri Lanka has been self-sufficient in rice, it has not considered large scale exports. He remarked that the government was looking for export markets and was even in the process of supplying the World Food Programme.

"For over 30 years the WFP has fed our internally displaced people but now there is no longer any need for that. However, even though Sri Lanka has no internally displaced there is many around the world. We are in the process of identifying two districts that can provide rice exports to the WFP," he told media.  

Earlier, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had outlined plans to start of rice exports to African countries in the near future.

After ending a three decade war Sri Lanka is hoping to hit 10 billion U.S dollar export earnings in 2011.      

In addition, the government is also planning to strengthen a livelihood program so that backyard businesses can link with small and medium industries to promote import substitution in Sri Lanka. Larger companies will then be able to outsource some of their tasks to them, the Ministry secretary said.