Jan 17, 2021

Firm action taken against 'rice mafia' during this 'Maha' season Featured

It is reported that the Paddy Marketing Board is planning to purchase 300,000 MT of paddy from the paddy harvest this 'Maha' season.

During previous years, the average purchase of paddy was limited to 200,000 MT, but this year, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has instructed to increase the quantity, reports say.

Accordingly, developing necessary storage facilities has been done in the recent past to facilitate purchasing of more paddy.

It is now a well known secret that large scale rice millers are behind the increasing of rice prices by artificially creating a shortage.

Media had recently reported that Dudley Sirisena - the brother of former President Maithripala Sirisena as well as MP Sirisena Gamlath are behind this racket.

`A harvest of 2.8 million MT of paddy is expected this Maha season, predominantly from 370,000 farmers in Ampara, Batticaloa and Kilinochchi.

It is planned to buy a kilo of Nadu paddy at Rs. 50 / =, Samba at Rs. 52 / =, Wet Nadu at Rs. 44 / = and Samba at Rs. 46 / = according to the state guaranteed price.

Accordingly, the government hopes to be able to provide a kilo of rice to consumers at a reasonable price of Rs. 97 in the future.

No imports

Meanwhile, it is reported that President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has firmly decided that rice should not be imported under any circumstances.

However, in mid October 2020, Cabinet approval was granted to annually import 6,000MT of Basmati from Pakistan under the Pakistan - Sri Lanka FTA.

Co- cabinet spokesmen - Keheliya Rambukwella had stated that enabling consumers to buy Basmati would reduce the demand of other varieties.

No rice mafia

Meanwhile, speaking to media in Kandy a few days back, State Minister Siripala Gamlath said a rice mafia does not exist in the country.

Noting that the price of rice has not increased significantly, the state minister said prices have not increased by a large margin when compared to previous price revisions.

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