Crisis levensonderhoud Sri Lanka
July 14, 2022 - Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has seen headline inflation skyrocket, with food and fuel prices pushing staples like milk, rice, lentils and cooking oil out of reach for many ordinary families.
Since 2019, when Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidential election, Sri Lanka has run out of cash. The nation of 22 million people owes an estimated $51 billion in foreign debt.
In May, it defaulted on making repayments. Sri Lanka owes at least $5bn to China, India has made $5bn worth of assistance to date, while Japan is owed at least $3.5bn, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The Central Bank published headline inflation at 54.6 per cent in June, while food inflation surged to an eye-watering 80.4 per cent.
Professor Buddhi Marambe, a crop science expert at the Sri Lanka University of Peradeniya, said a government decision last year to ban chemical fertilizer led to a loss of 50 per cent of rice yield and up to 70 per cent of the maize yield.
“You can say that the [next] season is also going to be a failure,” Marambe said. “So the cumulative impact of having two failed seasons is going to have a bigger overall impact on food affordability in Sri Lanka.”
On Tuesday (July 12, 2022), food prices at the FOSE Market in Pettah, Colombo, surged. A kilo of carrots was selling for 490 Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) or €1.35, while a pack of 10 eggs commanded 385LKR (€1.06). A cylinder of cooking gas was fetching 12,000LKR (€33.17). According to the website Salary Explorer, a typical daily salary in Sri Lanka is 2,890LKR -- around €8 per day.