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* Sri Lanka Agriculture Ministry expects a drop in this season's paddy harvest
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 07:57 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 24, Colombo: The Agriculture Ministry of Sri Lanka says there will be a drop in the country's paddy harvest this season due to drought and it will result in an increase in the price of rice.

Agriculture Ministry Secretary, R.M.D.B. Meegasmulla has said that the Ministry is expecting an estimated 35 per cent drop in the paddy harvest this season.

He explained that the prevailing drought conditions had an impact on the paddy harvest in some of the main paddy growing districts like Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Ampara.

Although there are enough paddy stocks in the country to last several months, the private rice mill owners may increase the rice prices, the official observed.

According to Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, the country might experience a shortage of rice if the harvest expected from the next season sees a drastic drop.

He added that drought affected districts have been instructed to switch from paddy cultivation to alternate crops.

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