By Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa
National Organiser of the All Ceylon Lanka Peasants’ Federation asked as to why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not interested in examining the rice stores in Polonnaruwa or to call the mill owners to Colombo for a discussion on price control.
He said there is an attempt to import rice, but it is not necessary as the country’s annual requirement of 4.5 million tons of rice is available in the Polonnaruwa District. Such imports will badly affect the sale of harvest of the next season expected in a couple of months.
“Cooperative rice millers sell their rice to the CWE for Rs.70 a kilo and the CWE sells this rice to traders at Rs 88 who in turn sell it to consumers at.98 per kilo, the chairman revealed, while drawing the President’s attention to this situation.
Polonnaruwa rice millers are now producing more raw rice to sell them at prices fixed by themselves but are reluctant to produce Samba, Nadu and other boiled rice. The Rice Producers’ Cooperative Societies’ Chairman Muditha Perera said their entity was established by the former government to supply rice at reduced prices in order to control the rice monopoly.
Today rice production is planned to satisfy a few privileged entrepreneurs. Rice could be sold at prices set out in old gazettes till December 31, he said. They have bought paddy at Rs. 42 per kilo to produce rice and sell them at Rs.75.
Government’s paddy was sold to the cooperatives even during the election period. However after the election these supplies were suddenly stopped and rice businessmen have taken this opportunity to sell their rice at higher prices. Later the government has sold the paddy to mill owners at the same price the government paid for them, he further said.
He complained that there was a stock of 42,000 metric tons in government stores and 32,000 metric tons have been issued from these stores. However this situation has not helped to reduce the rice price and consumers have not been benefitted.
Even now the rice millers of their cooperative societies are issuing red raw rice at Rs.70 to the CWE and the market and this rice is being sold in the market for Rs.110.
He said it is not clear why a price of Rs.98 was authorised for this rice.
- How does the rice price that prevailed at Rs.85 before the presidential election suddenly increase to Rs.115