Written by Staff Writer
06 Mar, 2019 | 9:51 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Farmers held demonstrations at a number of locations in the country, today (March 6) demanding the authorities to impose a reasonable price for paddy.
The National Collective of Agrarian Unions said this protest was held at 54 irrigation projects.
Farmers from the Polonnaruwa – Elahera agrarian settlement held a demonstration today, obstructing the Dambulla – Mahiyanganaya main road from the Bakamuna town. 42 agrarian unions with farmers from the Polonnaruwa – Elahera agrarian settlement participated in the protest.
Another protest carried out by farmers was held at the 5th mile post area in Anuradhapura – Rajanganaya.
Farmers from the Giritale agrarian settlement held a demonstration today, blocking the Habarana – Polonnaruwa main road.
National Organizer of the All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Namal Karunaratne questioned the Prime Minister if he can worship at Thirupathi and gift gold weighing as much as him to the shrine, why can’t they weigh the paddy of the farmers and provide them with a reasonable price? He asked him about the journey they are embarking on by hoodwinking the farmers.
Another group of farmers obstructed the Minneriya – Hingurakgoda main road, at the Hingurakgoda town.
Farmers belonging to the Neelabemma agrarian community protested opposite the Agrarian Service Center in Saliyawewa, Puttalam. Farmers note that the 2019 Budget did not provide them with any relief.
Another protest took place at the Galenbidunuwewa town.
Several representatives of the Rideegama Joint Farmers’ Federation held a demonstration in Ambalanthota.
Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board noted that the cabinet has decided to purchase a kilogram of Samba at Rs. 41 and a kilo of Naadu at Rs. 37. He noted that these control prices are determined to take into account both farmers and consumers in order to ensure that equilibrium is met.
He said they have released all paddy storages under their administration and as the Paddy Marketing board, they purchase paddy and the money is paid through the District Secretary’s office.
The paddy farmer currently incurs a large cost in order to reap a harvest. Since most fertilizers and pesticides are not locally manufactured, such products have to be imported.
The burden of the depreciating rupee against the US dollar also has to be borne by the farmers, resulting in an increase in their production cost.
Therefore, is it not the duty of policymakers to ensure that these farmers are provided with a reasonable price, with which they are able to settle their debts and be satisfied with the hard work they put in, in order to reap the harvest.
If such policies to protect local paddy farmers are not put in place by the policymakers, the day where farmers give up cultivating paddy, is not far away.
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