PMB to purchase paddy at market rates to keep ‘big millers’ at bay

Cabinet approval has been granted to purchase paddy from local farmers competitively with the private sector to provide a higher price for farmers under the government’s rice purchasing programme of the Maha Season of 2020/21.

The Cabinet of Ministers has also decided to maintain the price of Nadu at Rs.98 per kilogram in the future, without any changes despite paddy being purchased at a higher price by the businessmen.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government is committed to look after both farmers and consumers. A decision to increase the purchasing price of a one kilo of rice was taken to help uplift the living standards of farmers. As a result of that big time rice businessmen are trying to purchase farmers’ stocks paying at least a rupee higher than the amount paid by the government. Private rice mill owners purchase paddy from farmers at Rs.52 when the government decided to purchase at Rs.50 per kilo.

“By doing that they are also trying to increase the market price of rice. But as a responsible government we are ready to face this challenge successfully by purchasing paddy competitively with the private sector and maintaining the price of Nadu at Rs.98. The government will never let private rice mill owners increase prices arbitrarily and the government will bear the loss incurred from this process,” the Minister said.

Paddy purchasing for the 2020/21 Maha Cultivation Season began in the second week of January at the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) warehouse complex in Akkaraipattu, Ampara.

The PMB expects to purchase 300,000 metric tonnes and previously Cabinet approval was granted to purchase standard Nadu at Rs. 50 per kg with 14 percent moisture and Rs. 44 per kg with 14 percent to 22 percent moisture. Standard Samba will be purchased at Rs. 52 per kg with 14 percent moisture and Rs. 46 per kg with 14 percent to 22 percent moisture.

With regard to small and large-scale irrigated farmers receiving the fertilizer subsidy, the PMB will purchase paddy according to the extent of cultivated land. At least 1,000 kg will be purchased from farmers who cultivate between 1 to 1.5 hectares and 1,500 kg will be purchased from farmers who cultivate between 1.5 hectares to 2 hectares.

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