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Sunday, June 26, 2022

India starts supplying rice to Sri Lanka in first major food aid

The Indian Ocean island nation of 22 million people is struggling to pay for essential imports after a 70% drop in foreign exchange reserves in two years led to a currency devaluation and efforts to seek help from global lenders.

By: Reuters |
Updated: April 3, 2022 7:04:31 am
Sri Lankan police commandos arrive at the vandalised neighbourhood of Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapksa's private residence following overnight clashes in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 1, 2022. (AP)

Indian traders have started loading 40,000 tonnes of rice for prompt shipment to Sri Lanka in the first major food aid since Colombo secured a credit line from New Delhi, two officials told Reuters on Saturday.

The Indian Ocean island nation of 22 million people is struggling to pay for essential imports after a 70% drop in foreign exchange reserves in two years led to a currency devaluation and efforts to seek help from global lenders.

The shipment of the staple comes before a key festival in Sri Lanka.

Fuel is in short supply, food prices are rocketing and protests have broken out as Sri Lanka’s government prepares for talks with the International Monetary Fund amid concerns over the country’s ability to pay back foreign debt.

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