Govt. permits import of rice, coconuts to meet shortfall


by Zacki Jabbar

The government said yesterday that it had permitted both the state and private sector to import rice and coconuts due to shortages created by adverse weather conditions.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Gayantha Karunathillake and Dayasiri Jayasekera, addressing the post Cabinet briefing at the Information Department, said that the decision to temporarily liberalise the import of rice and coconuts, to meet the shortfall in demand, had been taken at Tuesday’s Cabinet Meeting presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Pointing out that drought and excessive rain had caused the current situation, Jayasekera noted that over 200,000 coconut palms had become unproductive due to the drought in the Kurunegala District alone." Similarly, rice growing areas have also been affected due to a combination of these factors. So, we have granted Sathosa and private businesses permission to import the required quantities of these food stuffs."

Answering a question, he said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also imported rice during his tenure in office, even though he now opposed food imports at issue.

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