Rice import move will adversely impact farmers

Rice import move will adversely impact farmers

Rice import move will adversely impact farmers

Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi

22 Jun, 2021 | 12:51 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st): The government’s decision to import 100,000 metric tonnes of Ponni Samba rice will gravely affect the farming community and the small & medium-scale rice mill owners in the country, the United Rice Mill Owners’ Association said.

It was announced on Monday (Jun.21) that the government has decided to import 100,000 MT of Ponni Samba to the country; tenders will be called for from local importers, the Food Commissioners Department of Sri Lanka said in a statement.

Responding to the government’s decision to import rice, the United Rice Mill Owners’ Association on Tuesday (Jun. 22) pointed out that the mechanism to purchase rice in the country has failed despite seven gazettes issued within the past four agricultural seasons since the incumbent government came into power.

“The failure of the government’s rice purchasing mechanism and the relevant gazette notifications is behind this proposal to import 100,000 metric tonnes of Ponni Samba. This tender to import rice will answer the question as to whether the government has passed or failed,” W.D.K. Mudith Perera, the Chairman of the United Rice Mill Owners’ Association emphasized during a press briefing in Polonnaruwa.

Whilst questioning as to why rice was being imported in this manner, Mudith Perera pointed out that the Minister of Trade has called for tenders to import rice from India, as the farmers are starting to release the harvest from the Yala season to the local market.

As of now, farmers are already engaged in process of collecting the harvest from the paddy cultivations in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

“What are they attempting to achieve through this? They are trying to inflict fear among the farming community. Thereby, compelling them to quickly release the harvest to the local market for the fear of a reduction in rice prices. As a result, large-scale rice mill owners will be able to buy rice stocks at very cheap rates,” Mudith Perera stressed.

According to Mudith Perera, through this decision to import rice in this manner, the small and medium-scale rice mill owners will lose their share of the market; this share of the market will be allocated to the Indian and Pakistani rice mill owners.

“This decision will have a serious impact on the farmers and small and medium-scale rice mill owners of the country,” Mudith Perera, the Chairman of the United Rice Mill Owners’ Association lamented.

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