COLOMBO, 4 April 2014 (IRIN) – Sri Lanka has had six months of drought and could face severe crop losses and electricity shortages if the coming monsoon is as weak as forecasts predict, experts say.
“The situation is really, really bad,” said Ranjith Punyawardena, chief climatologist at the Department of Agriculture. “Already there are harvest losses and more are anticipated.”
According to Punyawardena, 5 percent (280,000 tons) of the 2014 rice harvest has already been lost due to the ongoing drought, which stretches back to November 2013. With 200,000 hectares of rice fields (20 percent of the annual cultivated total) planted during the secondary harvesting season already lost, experts say the losses from the drought could be exacerbated by the forecasted weak southwest monsoon, due in May. http://www.irinnews.org/report/99884/drought-begins-to-bite-in-sri-lanka
Experts in Sri Lanka fear that despite the increased frequency of extreme dry seasons, the country still lacks measures to ease the impact on vital sectors like agriculture, energy and water resources. Ranjith Punyawardena, chief climatologist at the Department of Agriculture, said that this year’s main paddy rice harvest was likely to shrink by 7-10 percent due to the shortage of rainfall. – http://www.trust.org/item/20140214194424-vmupo/?source=hptop
Sri Lanka’s electricity rates were hiked effective May. The revision is already forcing high-end domestic users to look at a much more environmental friendly alternative, solar. However experts say it is too early to predict whether the rate hike will influence mass movement to solar. Of the over 5m households connected to the national grid, only 3% are considered even border-line high-end users. My file for the Thomson Reuters Foundation – http://www.trust.org/item/20130612114146-mfayx/?source=hptop