BY Dinitha RathnayakeA further increase in the price of rice has been predicted by both farmers and the Government’s Trade Ministry, citing the removal of the price controls and the upcoming Christmas and New Year festive season, and due to the harvesting of the Maha cultivation taking place only early next year.Speaking to The Morning, All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation National Organiser Namal Karunaratne claimed that the price of nadu rice would probably increase by Rs. 15 per kilogramme (kg) and the price of samba rice by Rs. 30 per kg. “There is no control at the moment of the prices of rice. Paddy price is expected to increase to Rs. 100 per kg and the rice millers would benefit from the price. Rice millers collect the paddy at a low cost and they benefit from the increased price. It is their strategy,” he further claimed. The Cabinet has decided to remove the price controls imposed on rice and import a buffer stock to prevent any possible shortage due to the rescinding of the price control gazette, which set raw rice at Rs. 95 per kg, nadu at Rs. 98 per kg, samba at Rs. 103 per kg, and keeri samba at Rs. 125 per kg. Meanwhile, Trade Ministry Secretary Bhadranie Jayawardhana also admitted that the rice prices varied according to the location that the consumers purchased such from. “Since there is no control price on rice, the prices could change accordingly. We cannot stop that. Due to the upcoming festive (Christmas and New Year) season, the prices of rice would also increase,” she told The Morning. According to Jayawardhana, the price changes according to the supply and demand, and since the Maha harvest season is in January and February 2022, there is a possibility of an increase in rice prices.