Rice consumption and production increase
The Post-Harvest Technology Institute in its island-wide research conducted on rice consumption in Sri Lanka has found that the per-capita rice consumption has been rapidly increasing. In 1973 the per-capita rice consumption in the country was 86.80 kg whereas in 2008 it was 116 kg. In this regard during the last 35 years the annual rice consumption has increased up to 30 kg, the Post-Harvest Technology Institute said.
Post_Harvest Technology Senior Research Officer D.P.C.Swarnasiri told The Island Financial Review that Sri Lanka’s annual per-capita rice consumption had risen to 116 kg annually. Due to the dramatic increase in rice consumption paddy production had also increased on an island-wide basis to meet the demand.
He said that in 2008 Sri Lanka had produced 3.87 millions metric tons of paddy and in comparison to 2007 it was a 24 per cent increase. Central Bank reports had revealed that there were around 879,000 paddy farming families in Sri Lanka and 8500 rice mills were located in the country. The fast moving and the basic consumer item was rice in the market and the staple food of all Sri Lankans was rice.There had been a great demand for rice flour based products.
Swarnasiri pointed out that 8 varieties of rice could be bought at the local market and around 96 per cent of rice varieties were being produced locally and only Basmathee was being imported. The Post-Harvest Technology Institute in Anuradhapura had formulated a plan to apply technology in the paddy production of the country with Post-Harvest Technology. The Rice Packeting Research and Rice Promotion Centre was able to distribute 100 per cent pure rice to the market in 1984.
He added that the Sri Lanka Standard Institute introduced different gradings of rice in 1984 with 4 grades for Kekulu rice and 4 grades for steam rice. Meanwhile paddy farmers were enlightened on the new applications in rice production and even the rice mill owners had been instructed on scientific paddy processing methods. The application of modern technology in rice mills had paid good dividends and the people were able to purchase rice without sand and stones.
Sawarnasiri noted that the Post-Harvest Technology Institute launched a programme in 2000 to examine rice sales whether traders were selling rice in accordance with the standards recommended by the Sri Lanka Standard Institute. The programme was successful because the traders were selling good quality rice in the market. But on subsequent researches conducted it was found that the quality had gone down a little bit.
He said that in other researches conducted in 2000 it was revealed that rice production in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Galle, Kandy, Ampara and Kurunegala districts had been developed. In 2008 research it was found that rice in the market was not considered as grade 1, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Galle districts had produced good quality Kekulu rice.
He added that according to the researches conducted in 2008 and 2009, apala-toxin in rice could not be found. But when the moisture increased beyond 14 per cent there was a possibility of developing various kinds of bacteria in rice.