IRRI, Sri Lanka set priorities for rice
Ministry of Agriculture and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) signed an agreement on Tuesday to restore the country’s rice self-sufficiency.
The agreement, signed by WMW Weerakoon, director general of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera, and Matthew Morell, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), identifies priority areas for Sri Lanka’s agriculture and outlines broad areas for collaboration. This will, in turn, guide the planning and implementation of strategic initiatives in the country to re-invigorate Sri Lanka’s rice sector and support the government in achieving their key goal of self-sufficiency in rice.
“Sri Lanka’s drive to restore rice self-sufficiency aligns with our goal in ensuring food and nutrition security in the region,” Morell said.
Rice is the staple Sri Lanka and, until recently, the country had achieved self-sufficiency in rice production. In 2017, Sri Lanka was forced to import 700,000 tons of rice as the country experienced untimely flooding and its worst drought after 37 years.
“That we had to import additional thousands of tons of rice in 2017 due to extreme climatic conditions reminded us of the urgent need to identify key areas we should act upon to ensure that we are better prepared in the event that catastrophes strike the country again,” explained Weerakoon.