Government to purchase 300,000 metric tonnes of paddy

The Government will purchase 300,000 metric tonnes of paddy through the Paddy Marketing Board in the forthcoming Maha season.

A special meeting was held at the Agriculture Ministry under Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to find immediate solutions to control the mafia carried out by certain groups from to create a shortage of rice and increase the price of rice.

Minister Aluthgamage emphasised that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed relevant authorities not to import rice and take necessary measures to produce the required amount of rice for ocal consumption.

The Minister said that the country needs to produce rice for consumption until next February and that the mafia is taking advantage of the situation to increase the shortage of rice and increase prices.

The Minister stated that the government can successfully face that situation with the assistance of public officers. It was emphasized that 300,000 metric tonnes of paddy in the Maha season should be purchased directly through the Paddy Marketing Board and the relevant government agencies should coordinate in this regard. It was decided at this meeting to immediately allocate funds for the renovation of the warehouse and to obtain the assistance of the Army for that purpose.

The Minister also pointed out that the efficiency of the relevant public officials is essential to take steps to produce paddy beyond the needs of the country. Minister Aluthgamage pointed out to officials who participated in this event that these objectives could be achieved by encouraging the farming community to cultivate fallow paddy lands as a national interest. It was also decided to implement a successful plan to increase paddy production by 25% over the current situation.

Agriculture State Minister Shashindra Rajapaksa pointed out that the surplus paddy purchased by the Paddy Marketing Board can be distributed within a specified identification system, including hospitals, three forces, prisons. The State Minister instructed officials to pay more attention to transport facilities when purchasing paddy and to act in a practical manner so as not to inconvenience the farming community.

It was emphasized at this special discussion that a planned programme in this regard should be given within the next week and work should be done efficiently without slowing down. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage further stated that the Paddy Marketing Board will purchase paddy from those farmers as the government implements the free fertilizer subsidy.

He said that it was the responsibility of the relevant officials to take steps to hand over successful seed paddy to the farmers for an effective harvest. The necessary facilities should be provided to the farmers. It was emphasized to the relevant government officials at the discussion that all matters relating to the provision of fertilizer, seed paddy, purchase of paddy through the Paddy Marketing Board should be done in a coordinated manner.

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