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Government Intervention Boosts Rice Flour Consumption in Sri Lanka

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Rice flour consumption is increasingly sharply in Sri Lanka, reaching around 117 kilograms per person per year in 2011, up about 24% from around 94.1 kilograms per person per year, according to the Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando. The minister said that the government policy to encourage rice consumption and reduce consumption of wheat has led to a decline in wheat flour consumption to around 24.2 kilograms per person per year, down about 32% from around 35.5 kilograms per person per year.

Sri Lanka does not produce any wheat and the government levies an import duty of around 15% on wheat imports to discourage wheat consumption and encourage rice consumption under the country's rice-sufficiency goal. Wheat flour products are banned in government organizations to boost rice consumption in the country, while rice flour production is incentivized.

Last year, Sri Lanka became rice-sufficient for the first time since independence in 1948. The country now produces about 3 million tons of rice, and imports small quantities of mostly specialty rice to meet domestic demand.

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