The rice imported from Myanmar was of good quality but there was a certain group of persons, including some in the rice trade, who were spreading a false rumour that it was not suitable for human consumption. "In fact I too was a consumer of the rice from Myanmar," Secretary Ministry of Trade Consumer Affairs and Cooperative Development Dr. R. M. K. Ratnayake told The Island yesterday (22).
He said the reason for the rumour was very clear. Once any commodity was condemned by such mischievous stories wholesale stocks would not move in the market and certain unscrupulous elements in the trade, not all traders, would buy those stocks for a song on the pretext that it was for animal feed, but would make high margins of profit by putting it on sale for human consumption.
The stocks in the market, milled from the last Maha season are over ten months old and rice does not spoil that soon, but the Myanmar rice was imported from mid-May this year and there was no reason for these stocks to go bad. All rice varieties imported are fumigated by the Food Commissioner’s Department as it was the normal procedure, Ratnayake said.
However the balance stock of rice from Maynmar, its final shipment of 1,212 metric tons, arrived recently and the ministry was now issuing it to the cooperatives and the Lak Sathosa outlets to be sold at Rs.45 a kilo. It was a normal palatable stock of rice and the public are warned not to be misled by the unscrupulous traders who condemn the rice so that it will remain unsold in the warehouses, he said.