Written by Staff Writer
15 Dec, 2016 | 10:01 pm
The government has decided to release 150,000 metric tonnes of rice held at government storage Facilities as a solution to market issues surrounding rice.
The government will release 75% of the 200,000 metric tonnes being held at storage facilities to producers.
National Organiser of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation Namal Karunaratne, speaking to media, said that paddy which was purchased for a price between Rs.28 and Rs.34 is being converted to rice – and rice which can be sold at Rs.60 is being sold for prices above Rs.90.
He added that in such a back drop, the three major mill owners are having around one million metric tonnes of rice stocks with them.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board M.B. Dissanayake, commenting on this move said that priority will be given to the small and medium mill owners when these stocks are being issued, and mill owners in the districts will also be given priority.
Chairman of the United Rice Mill Owners’ Association Mudith Perera expressed the following views:
“… If these stocks are released to the market as paddy, the prices of rice will only increase. Releasing these stocks will not attribute to a price reduction …”
National organiser of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation Namal Karunaratne also commenting on this issue said that the government must reach an agreement with the small mill owners and pay a specified price for a kilogramme of rice and then the government can take the rice stocks.
He went onto note that the rice can be sold for a lesser price through Sathosa and the Co-operatives.
Although the government has reached a decision to release paddy stock to rice mills , there is no change to the decision made to import rice.
Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said that they need rice by January and February and the Yala harvesting seasons begins in late February and March and that therefore its necessary to have stocks of rice as standby.
National Organiser of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation Namal Karunaratne expressed the following views:
“… Do not create any discomfort for the farmer. Commissions are given through the importation of rice stocks. Do not create an environment where the farmers’ rice is being given to intermediaries for a lesser price. On one hand the farmers are being extorted and on the other the consumer is being extorted. The government is doing nothing …”
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