Rice price control decided after consulting millers – Govt.

The Government decided on the new price structure for rice only after consulting the Rice Millers’ Association, Secretary to the Ministry of Trade, Consumer Affairs and Cooperatives Dr. R. M. K. Ratnayake said yesterday.

He said President Mahinda Rajapaksa before taking the decision had pointed out that farmers had been granted a fertilizer subsidy totalling Rs 17 billion and like the farmers, the consumers, too, should be benefited.

Prices paid to farmers by the millers and traders were taken into consideration before formulating the new wholesale and retail price structure, preventing traders from making unreasonable profit, Ratnayake said. There had not been any scarcity of rice in the market and therefore there was no reason for a price hike he argued.

Ratnayake said there was a rich Maha harvest and a good harvest was expected in the coming Yala since the reservoirs were full. Furthermore, the government recently imported 100,000 tons of rice and orders have been placed to import a further 50,000 tons. Traders have no valid reason to increase prices, he said.

He said that in Vavuniya a Kilogram of rice sells at Rs 40 while in Ampara it sells at Rs 25. He warned that the government was monitoring the price structures and stern action would be taken against traders violating the price control

He said that even when paddy was purchased at Rs 25, the cost of production of rice was around Rs 12 to 13. Sri Lanka’s monthly consumption of rice was 173,000 tons but the majority of people in the agricultural sector were not buying rice from the retailer as they had their own stocks.



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