Services of the owners of all rice mills have been declared an essential service under the COVID-19 quarantine process since the provision of essential foods and rice production storage and distribution is imperative to ensure food security, the President's Media Division said.
It said rice mills owners of the country must produce rice in their respective areas using paddy stocks in their possession.
"Under the instructions of the President, the Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundara in a letter had informed the Acting Inspector General of Police, the Director-General of Health Services, the Commissioner-General of Food and the Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Authority to take measures enabling small scale rice mill owners to distribute rice stocks within their respective Divisional Secretariat Divisions, medium scale owners to distribute within the district and large scale owners to distribute in the entire country.
A harvest of around 3 million metric tons of paddy has been reaped by now and the quantity of rice that can be produced is equivalent to 2/3 of that amount.
Accordingly, all the relevant parties have been told that increasing the rice prices or hampering the supply of rice poses a major impediment to the effective implementation of quarantine activities.
Accordingly, the Secretary instructs relevant parties to pay more attention and give the highest possible priority to maintain food security during this period when the people have been subjected to some form of quarantine and the food and other essential items are being delivered to the door-step of the people.
The Osu Sala, pharmacies and banking services remain in the category of essential services," the PMD said.