In May, the situation was exacerbated by the worst torrential rains in 14 years, which triggered floods and landslides in the country’s southwest, killing some 200 people and forcing many from their homes.But in drought-affected areas in the north, rains were not sufficient to replenish reservoirs, and the second 2017 rice paddy harvest is expected to be at least 24 percent lower than last year’s, said FAO official Cristina Coslet. Sri Lanka was hit by the worst drought in four decades last year, with poor rains continuing into 2017, causing many farmers to lose their crops and income, the agencies said. “The level of water in irrigation reservoirs is still well below the average,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.Some 225,000 households – or 900,000 people – face food insecurity, and have been forced to eat less and lower quality food, the report said.Unable to grow their own crops, many families have to buy food at local markets where prices have spiked due to the crisis, it said. A severe drought followed by floods has slashed agricultural production in Sri Lanka, leaving some 900,000 people facing food insecurity, the United Nations said, warning that without help the situation might further deteriorate.Production of rice, the country’s staple food, is forecast to drop almost 40 percent to 2.7 million tonnes in 2017, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) said in a report on Thursday, according to Reuters. FAO and WFP said seeds, equipment, irrigation support, and cash assistance are urgently needed to help farmers in the next planting season starting in September, and to prevent conditions from deteriorating. Other crops including pulses, chillies and onion are also expected to take a blow, it said. “If (the planting season) fails the situation will worsen a lot for the families affected,” Coslet said. (Colombo Gazette) read more

TORONTO – Extendicare Inc. (TSX:EXE) is expanding its presence in Ontario and Saskatchewan with a series of acquisitions and developments, including the purchase of three retirement communities in deals announced on Wednesday.The company, based in Markham north of Toronto, will buy the 116-suite Stonebridge seniors home in Saskatoon and the Riverbend facility in Regina for a total of $50.2 million from Brightwater Senior Living Group.Extendicare also has a letter of intent to acquire two additional Brightwater properties that are under construction in Moose Jaw and Yorkton, Sask.In Tillsonburg, Ont., southeast of London, Extendicare will buy the Harvest Retirement Community for $28.4 million. It’s currently owned by a partnership of Baybridge Seniors Housing and Nautical Lands Group.The Harvest home has 64 suites and it’s being expanded by 36 suites that are to be completed in December.The Harvest, Stonebridge and Riverbend transactions are to close on Dec. 1 and follow Extendicare’s purchase last month of the Empire Crossing independent living community in Port Hope in southeastern Ontario, which cost $20.2 million in cash.Extendicare is also developing three retirement communities in Simcoe, Bolton and Uxbridge, Ont., for $81 million.The acquisitions and developments would add to Extendicare’s network of senior-care centres, which totalled 112 locations at the end of September.Extendicare announced the deals along with its latest financial report, which showed it had $263 million of revenue in the third quarter — up $55.4 million or 26.7 per cent from last year.The company recorded a $204.7 million gain from the sale of its U.S. operations, which helped push Extendicare’s net profit to $216.3 million. Net operating income was $34.8 million, up $6.1 million from a year earlier.“We are pleased to continue our progress in executing on our Canadian-focused strategy following our exit from the U.S. operations,” Extendicare president and CEO Tim Lukenda said in a statement.“The retirement communities that we are acquiring, and those under development, will be great additions to our property portfolio, and are consistent with our strategy to develop our business across the continuum of care.” by David Paddon, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 11, 2015 7:07 am MDT Last Updated Nov 11, 2015 at 1:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Extendicare to buy three retirement communities in Saskatchewan, Ontario read more