Written by Tharushan Fernando
24 Dec, 2016 | 7:28 pm
The Paddy Marketing board says that the paddy in their possession will be distributed to rice mill owners covering all the districts as a means to mitigate the shortage of rice.
Chairman M.B. Dissanayake stated that all mill owners, including the small and medium scale mill owners, will be given a quantity of 500 metric tonnes or less. However, the small and medium scale mill owners say that these measures stated by the paddy marketing board does not take place in reality.
Secretary of Small and Medium Scale Mill Owners’ Association,Thilak Somaweera said that it is disappointing is that the paddy does not get converted into rice and it does not reach the consumer, as the chairman of the paddy marketing board has stated. And when this goes to the market through intermediaries you cannot find solutions to the issue where the cost of rice is increasing.
He added that there are approximately 1.5 million metric tonnes of paddy in the country but these stocks do not reach the market and according to statistics there are two tonnes with the government and if this also gets into the hands of the Mafia it will get even stronger.
Chairman of the All Ceylon Peasants’ Association, Amal Karunaratne noted that the storage facilities in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ampara are over loaded while elephants destroy these stocks and there are stocks in Anamaduwa as well.
“So why hasn’t the cost of rice reduced?”charged the chairman and further questioned as to what steps have the government taken to control this issue that affects 20 million people.
He added that the government is heading down this path without heeding advice, without paying attention to the media, consumers or the farmers because the commissions they receive are very high.
Nihal Seneviratne of the Importers and Dealers Association of Essential Food Items says that the tenders for the importation of 100,000 metric tonnes rice have still not been called. The burden of this crisis will have to borne by the general public during the festive season.
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