The government, despite there is no shortage of rice and paddy in the country, has allowed large scale rice mill owners to exploit the masses complain medium and small scale rice mill owners and All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation. This was stated at a press conference held in Dambulla yesterday (21st).
The National Organizer of All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Namal Karunaratna addressing the media said the price of rice has gone up enormously as the paddy Marketing Board acts according to the agenda of a few large scale rice mill owners. He said the shortage of rice and paddy has been artificially created to exploit the consumers and small scale rice mill owners. He pointed out that large scale rice mill owners have hoarded more than 1.5 million tons of paddy.
The President of Polonnaruwa United Rice Producers Association Muditha Perera speaking to the media said according to consumer laws in the country the price of rice cannot be increased. As the government has gazette the maximum prices Nadu rice could be sold only at Rs. 68 and samba rice could be sold at Rs. 77 a kilo he pointed out. With the certified price the government could control the prices so that a kilo of Nadu rice could be sold at Rs.80 and Samba could be sold at Rs. 85 a kilo he emphasized.
A scheme to allow large scale rice mill owners to get stocks of paddy owned by the government has been activated and the large scale rice mill owners have taken steps to buy paddy from farmers, store them and later sell them at higher prices said members of All Ceylon Medium & Small Scale Rice Mill Owners Association.