Covid triggers food crisis in Sri Lanka

Due to a lack of foreign currency reserves, the country, deprived of tourists, can no longer import vital foodstuffs.

Sri Lanka declared itself in a state of food emergency on Tuesday. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced measures to counter the creation of food stocks. He appointed a senior army officer “Commissioner General of Essential Services, in charge of coordinating paddy supply (whole rice, editor’s note), rice, sugar and food“. And officials are now empowered to seize certain stocks or arrest Sri Lankans who amass essential food.

These measures follow the jump in the prices of sugar, rice, onions and potatoes in the country of 22 million people. Sri Lankan banks, short of foreign exchange, can no longer finance imports. And long queues form in front of the grocery stores. The shortages also concern powdered milk, cooking gas and even kerosene. So much so that the government threatened to ration the fuel supply by the end of December

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