Rice imports stabilise prices
Rice prices in the market have stabilised with stocks of rice
imported from India and Pakistan coming into the market.
However, there is no significant price decline and the wholesale
price of local Nadu was over Rs. 66 per kg and local samba was over Rs.
76. The wholesale price of imported Ponni Samba was Rs. 67.
Traders said that local Nadu rice is not available in the market and
the decision to import rice was a timely decision. Local rice supply has
declined due to the drought which hit paddy production since the last
The estimated paddy harvest in 2013-14 Maha season was 2.4 million
tonnes, a significant decline compared to previous years. Sufficient
irrigation water was not available to cultivate paddy during the Yala
season in the main rice growing areas of the dry zone this year and
farmers were advised to cultivate other crops. As a result, a shortage
of rice was looming and prices increased sharply. However, farmer
organisations said that the rice shortage was created by a cartel of
large mill owners. As a result of higher paddy prices during the
harvesting season, small and medium sized mill owners failed to collect
The open market paddy price increased above the government's
purchasing price due to short supply and large mill owners collected
most of them.
According to the Department of Census and Statistics sources, stocks
available are sufficient till December and the Director General of the
Department, D.C.A. Gunawardena said that there was no reason to panic.