Some traders who are close associates of politicians are hoarding another 200,000 metric tons of rice imported from India, President of the United Rice Growers’ Association Muditha Perera said.
He said rice is being imported when there is a rice surplus in Sri Lanka.
He said that the production of rice in the previous 2020/21 Maha Season was 5 million metric tons. Despite this record harvest, Mr. Perera said rice was imported not due to a lack of harvest resulted in from organic farming but because of lack of commissions.
Meanwhile, he said that a social security tax of 2.5% would be imposed per kilo of rice from October 1, and this tax amount would also be added to a kilo of rice.
In order not to collect the tax amount from consumers, he said the new tax amount will have to be reduced when purchasing paddy from the farmer.
Mr. Perera said that the price of rice has gone up due to stubborn actions of one large-scale rice mill owner, and that this situation has arisen due to the lack of straightforwardness and decision making of the agricultural officials.
“The officials of the Agriculture Ministry kept mum while waiting for imported rice. Therefore, rice was imported on loan unnecessarily. It is a crime to try to use the country’s rice production for chicken feed when people don’t have anything to eat. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has been misled,” he said.
He said that more than 700 small and medium scale rice mills and more than half of the large scale rice mills have been closed. However, he said the paddy harvest will increase in great quantity next year.