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Rice prices to drop within two weeks

The prices of rice, which are unusually high at the moment, will drop within the coming two weeks, Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) Vice Chairman Agriculture Economist W.H. Duminda Priyadarshana told The Morning yesterday (21).

He said that the PMB is prepared to deliver 10,000 metric tonnes of rice in time for the Sinhala and Hindu New Year festive season.

“We would be able release 10,000 rice metric tonnes to Sathosa and other private supermarkets before the festive season, and this would eventually lead to a drop in the retail prices of rice,” Priyadarshana added.

According to Priyadarshana, the Government’s arrangement for paddy purchasing during the Maha season commenced in February and will conclude in April.

“So far we have purchased 20,000 metric tonnes of dried paddy and stored it in our paddy stores. We will process dry paddy and deliver it to the market,” he said.

323 new warehouses in 19 districts excluding Nuwara Eliya, Kegalle, and Kalutara have been renovated for paddy storage and have a storage capacity of 350,000 metric tonnes of paddy.

According to Priyadarshana, the PMB received an allocation of Rs. 16 million to purchase the paddy of Maha season 2020/2021 from one million paddy farmers.

The purchasing the Maha season paddy of 2020/21 commenced at the PMB store complex at Akkaraipattu, Ampara on 12 January 2021.

Meanwhile, according to Ministry of Paddy and Grain, Organic Food, Vegetables, Fruits, Chillies, Onion, and Potato Cultivation Promotion, Seed Production, and Advanced Technology Agriculture State Secretary Anil Wijesiri, the estimated Maha season dry paddy production is 3.4 million metric tonnes and the annual consumption of the country is 2.5 million metric tonnes.

He added that the Yala season produces 1.8 million dry paddy metric tonnes.

“We purchase dry paddy at a price of Rs. 55 per kg,” said Wijesiri.

He also said that the Maha season from January to April produces 65% of the total paddy production while the Yala season produces 35% during August to September.

“The Government provides fertiliser, water, and insurance, as well as technology free of charge to the farmer. We have taken steps to provide a guaranteed price to prevent farmers from selling rice at a low price.”

Traders who store paddy want to take maximum advantage of this opportunity, so they have stocked up their paddy in a bid to sell it at a high price, Wijesiri added.