Farmers in many areas want better prices for paddy; private vendors exploit situation

Farmers in many areas want better prices for paddy; private vendors exploit situation

Written by Staff Writer

07 Mar, 2019 | 8:55 pm

Colombo (News 1st): Many farmers across the nation have faced great difficulty due to not receiving a proper buying price for the Maha season paddy harvest.  Farmers protested yesterday (March 6) requesting a proper price.

The cabinet committee recently decided to pay a price of Rs. 38 for a kilogram of Nadu and Rs. 41 for a kilogram of Samba.

Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board Kasthuri Anuradhanayaka noted that these costs are allocated considering the farmers’ operational cost and the controlled selling price to consumers. He noted that they have opened all the paddy stores that they manage, as the Paddy Marketing Board is ready to purchase stocks of paddy.

Even though farmers have already begun harvesting, selling their harvest is merely a dream. The farmers claimed that the government is capable of purchasing paddy at a higher buying price compared to the market price of rice.

Farmers stress that they cannot sell their harvests to outside vendors as they don’t offer a reasonable price. They request the government provide a standard price of Rs. 55 for Samba and Rs. 50 for Nadu.

Even though the government paddy store in Palwahara, Dambulla was open today, farmers refrained from selling paddy.

Farmers said they sold Nadu for Rs. 45 and Samba for Rs. 50 in 2014/15 and the buying prices now are significantly reduced, selling to private vendors is more profitable in this situation. They stress that no matter how many stores are built there’s no change. They stated that the officials will be seated in their offices, the stores will be open, but the farmers will sell the paddy to private vendors.

Meanwhile, farmers in Polonnaruwa have faced a similar situation. Farmers in this area said that with the present situation, the buying price of paddy will be reduced further.

Farmers note that the cost of cultivating one acre is around Rs 220,000.00; the cost of seed paddy is about Rs 3200.00 and Rs 4,000 as labour costs. With other costs, the cost of production is far more than the selling price. They questioned, what remains for the farmer after all these costs?

The farmers stress that the politicians conduct meetings within the comforts of their offices while another group is planning to take advantage of their (farmers) efforts. They challenged the Prime Minister or anyone to come and stand under the sun for 10 minutes, and experience their struggle.

They noted that the government failed to allocate a single rupee for the benefit of the farmers, but have somehow managed to allocate money for the stray dogs on the streets.

Farmers in Ampara and Puttalam also face the same situation. News 1st reporters spoke to the vendors who arrived to purchase paddy from the Puttalam area.

The vendors note that they purchase for Rs. 30, and sell it to the mills for Rs. 32. Vendors noted that the mill owners, measure for moisture content and if the moisture content is 17 they can sell it for Rs. 32. They note even they do not have any profit from it, the only people making profit are the mill owners.

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