Govt. to purchase paddy at Rs. 60 a kilo: Agriculture Minister’s claim dismissed



by Lal Gunesekera


Controversy surrounds Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene’s recent declaration that the government was ready to pay Rs. 60 for a kilo of paddy. Minister Abeywardene went to the extent of offering to sign an agreement with paddy farmers in this regard, while the Cooperatives and Internal Trade Ministry insists the Agriculture Minister’s claim is baseless.


Minister Abeywardene told a public gathering at Kalankutiya, Anuradhapura on August 27 that the government was prepared to purchase any amount of paddy at Rs. 60 a kilo. He was addressing the public after opening a factory to produce rice flour.


 


Minister Abeywardena said that the government was committed to selling a 50 kg bag of fertiliser, which cost Rs. 3,780 for a mere Rs. 350 to farmers.


The government buys a kilo of paddy at Rs. 30 and Rs. 28 for Samba and Nadu respectively. The while the controlled price for samba is Rs. 70 a kg.


Minister Johnston Fernando told The Island that the government had released an additional Rs. 5.6 billion for that purpose and also increased the amount of paddy purchased from a farmer to 10,000 kg from 5000 kg. Minister Fernando said that the PMB had increased the number of paddy purchasing centres to 49 and so far purchased 8,000 metric tons (8400,000 kg) of paddy.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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