Rice purchasing issues: Farmers say Pvt. sector will lower prices

* Govt. to buy 200,000 MT of rice
* No plan for additional 1.5 million MT of rice

By Skandha Gunasekara

The private sector would undercut the farmers by purchasing excess rice at cheaper rates, despite the Government’s attempts to provide relief for farmers.

“The Government is only buying 200,000 MT of rice. There will be an additional 1.5 million MT of rice in the market, which the private sector will buy at Rs. 40 (a kilogramme) and hoard,” All Island Farmers Federation (AIFF) National Co-ordinator Namal Karunaratne told The Morning.
The Government is to purchase paddy at Rs. 40 a kilogramme. Karunaratne alleged that private companies would then cause a shortage to resell the paddy at a higher price.

“This scam has been going on for years. They will now buy the rice for a cheaper rate at Rs. 40 and then hoard rice to hike the price. The farmer always gets cheated.”

The Ministry of Finance has released Rs. 10 billion to the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) to buy 200,000 MT of paddy for the Yala season.