CIC to export rice to France
A first for Sri Lankan agriculture sector:
Specialty Rice is being exported to France for the first time in the
Sri Lankan agriculture history. CIC Agri Businesses has taken the
initiative in this regard.
CIC Agri Businesses Director and CEO Keerthi Kotagama said they
started exporting Red Basmathi to France recently and the response was
In addition to France, they are also exporting CIC specialty rice to
USA, UK, Australia New Zealand and Canada.
“We are looking at new markets,” he said.
The rice is being prepared at CIC’s modern rice mill in Maho which
was given to the company in 2007. CIC converted this former fertilizer
facility to a modern rice mill installing state -of-the- art machinery
imported from Japan.
The CIC research centre and Laboratory in Pelwehera designed a
special variety of rice, Red Basmati, which helps control diabetes and
some other ailments.
“This product is highly in demand,” he said. In addition traditional
Sri Lankan rice such as Suwedel, Keeri Samba and Kalu Heenati are also
The new plant has the capability to grind, polish rice, sort out,
pack in different weights and it even has the ability to trace the
origin of the paddy field where the packeted rice was grown, which is a
first for the region.
The total investment for the plant was Rs 120 million.
Kotagama added that they are marketing the rice with both the CI Agri
Businesses Exports Pvt Ltd, trade mark and the Made in Sri Lanka’ tag.
He said they have over 1,000 farmer outgrowers who supply this
specialty paddy to the mill and there is a minimum certified price of Rs
“With the government decision to provide fertilizer at Rs 350 per bag
and with the government certified price tag the farmers are now rightly
yielding high returns,” Kotagama said.
He said their total specialty rice exports were 850 million metric
tonnes and they are looking at passing the three digit mark this year.
“We have set a target of 1500 tonnes for 2012”.
He said they market rice both locally and overseas in KG 1, 2 and 5
Commenting on the overall paddy market in Sri Lanka he said Sri Lanka
will have to look for export markets soon as the country is reaching
self sufficiency in rice soon.
One reason for this was the ending of the war which has enabled to
cultivate 200,000 acres of additional land and for paddy adding 120,000
metric tonnes. “In addition the fertilizer subsidy and the certified
price have also encouraged more to take into growing paddy as profits
have increased fourfold,” he said.
Prior to the war Sri Lanka produced around three million tons of
paddy which is equivalent to two million tonnes of rice for both
seasons. The per capita consumption of rice in Sri Lanka is around 115
kilograms and the country needs 2.3 million tonnes each year. The wheat
flour per capita consumption is 35 kg per person per year.
Last year Sri Lanka imported 300,000 tonnes of rice and very soon
this would stop and Sri Lanka should have a plan to export rice since
there will be an excess which would result in many problems to the
“I predict around 700, 000 metric ton of excess rice soon,” he said.