Locals rice producers say their trade is in jeopardy as unhealthy moves boil over

Locals rice producers say their trade is in jeopardy as unhealthy moves boil over

Locals rice producers say their trade is in jeopardy as unhealthy moves boil over

Written by Lahiru Fernando

02 Apr, 2017 | 10:08 am

With rice prices sky rocketing in the recent past, steps were taken by the government to impose a controlled price.

Due to the price of paddy increasing, local vendors charged that they cannot sell rice at the controlled price. Due to this situation, steps were taken by the government to import rice in order to maintain the controlled price.

Tax concessions were also granted for the importation of rice.
These concessions were to expire on March 31. However the Ministry of Finance took steps to extend the concession till Mary 31, taking into consideration the upcoming festive season.

Under the concessions Rs. 5 is charged from each kilogramme of imported rice as a special commodity levy. Prior to the concessions this value stood at around Rs. 50.

Local rice producers charge that  their trade is in jeopardy, due to the importation of rice. According to rice producers, nearly 150 small scale mills in the Polonnaruwa district have been forced to shut down their operations due to this situation..

Activists Namal Karunaratne of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation expressed concerns that a certain group of people would take steps to use the concessions and continue to drive up the prices of rice.

He also expressed concern about decisions made by the authorities to sell paddy purchased at high prices for dirt cheap in order to provide animal feed and distill alcohol.

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