Sri Lanka’ s Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera stated that immediate steps will be taken to solve the problems that have arisen in purchasing paddy from farmers.

The Minister further stated that since the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has not allocated enough money for the purchase of paddy, a certain amount of paddy has been purchased with the funds received from the Treasury, the Parliamentary Communications Department said.

In light of this situation, the farmers are not interested in selling paddy due to not getting the expected price, the Minister said.

The Minister stated the above while responding to the problems raised by the Parliamentarians regarding the purchase of paddy at the meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Agriculture held in Parliament recently, the Parliamentary Communications Department said in a statement.

The Minister pointed out that even if paddy is purchased at the minimum price fixed for the purchase of paddy, the paddy marketing board will have to sell rice at a price lower than that price. Given the situation, he informed that steps will be taken to solve the problems related to the purchase of paddy through discussion with the relevant parties.

The Members of Parliament of Batticaloa and Ampara pointed out that farmers in the said districts had to buy fertilizers at a higher price as they started the season earlier than other areas. The Minister said that at the meeting held to decide on the season, he will focus on deciding the start date of the season in general. The Minister also mentioned that attention has been paid to issuing a public announcement about the start date of the season so as to affect the entire island, it added.

Furthermore, the Minister pointed out that the price of eggs is high due to the decrease in egg production and that the price of eggs may decrease in the future due to the gradual increase in production.

However on Saturday (Aug 19), the Paddy Marketing Board announced that it had received sufficient financial allocations for paddy purchasing. Accordingly, the Paddy Marketing Board has thus far purchased Rs. 300 million worth of paddy.

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera

Nevertheless, it alleged that although the PMB still has the remaining Rs. 200 million of the allocation in its possession, it is facing a boycott from the farmers who have refused to sell their crops to the Board. Thus, it has been decided to close paddy warehouses in several districts.