Increase paddy purchases as harvesting begins: Farmers to Govt.View(s):
The call came with the Cabinet decision to purchase only 79,500 metric tonnes of paddy for the Maha season, with Nadu being bought at Rs 38 per kg and Samba varieties at Rs 41 per kg.
All Island Farmers Federation Secretary T.B Sarath said the Government is slow in buying paddy from the farmers due to harvesting in most areas not taking place at different times, due to the adverse weather conditions.
He explained that, currently, harvesting is on at Vavuniya and Ampara, therefore the large scale millers are buying paddy through brokers, paying farmers Rs 34, while the Government has quoted Rs 38-40.
United Rice Millers Association (URMA) President Mudith Perera said that, even wet paddy is bought by large scale millers at cheaper rates.
He said the Government also slacks at purchasing paddy as they are unable to buy huge amounts. The large millers exploit the situation and buy as much paddy as they can gather, and sell rice at higher prices.
However, Minister Ajith P. Perera said at the Cabinet Press briefing this week, that the Government only has sufficient space to store 5.5 metric tonnes of paddy from 17 Districts, adding that, Government cannot use taxpayers money only to buy paddy.
He explained they are buying paddy only as a measure to control market prices.
â€śThe solution for this paddy issue doesnâ€™t lie with the Government buying paddy. The Government should take action against millers who are stockpiling paddy,â€ť he said