No rice shortage - Minister Johnston Fernando
Cooperative and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said that
steps will be taken to import rice if shortage arose. A large stretch of
paddy cultivation was destroyed due to drought.
Even though the price of rice increased in the past, steps were taken
to distribute rice to consumers at reasonable price through Sathosa.
The Government was keen to protect the economy and to improve the
living standards of farmers, the Minister said.
Even though paddy was purchased at high price, the Government
distributed paddy to Sathosa at low price, and due to this rice could be
sold to consumers at reasonable price, the Minister said.
The Government has spent billions of rupees to purchase paddy from
Money was received from Banks and the Treasury. In addition, paddy
was purchased through the District Secretariats. Rs 210 million interest
was paid to banks for loans. during this period paddy was distributed to
all rice mills equally, he said.
The Government follows the concept of stipulated price when
purchasing paddy. Sometimes before we had storing problems. Now we have
stores with the capacity of storing 200,000 metric tons of paddy.
Accordingly we maintain the price of one Kilo Nadu at Rs. 32 and one
Kilo Samba is purchased at Rs. 35.
In future if a shortage arose, measures will be taken to import rice,
the Minister said.