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* Rice prices decline in Sri Lanka; consumers happy but farmers suffer
Wed, Mar 3, 2010, 07:14 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 03, Colombo: As the harvesting of rice in the major Maha season is underway in Sri Lanka, the rice prices in the markets that had risen earlier have begun to decline sharply, reports from Colombo wholesale market say.

The secretary of the Essential Food Commodity Importers' Association G. Nathan said that the wholesale rice prices had dropped below the government certified maximum prices.

Sri Lanka government earlier had to import rice since there was a scarcity of rice in the market during the past few months.

Meanwhile, reports from Polonnaruwa say that the paddy purchasing price has dropped sharply as the harvesting is underway in the major Maha season. Polonnaruwa is one of the major rice cultivation districts of Sri Lanka.

The purchasing price for a kilo of paddy has gone far below the government registered price. Private businessmen purchase Nadu paddy now for prices as low as Rs. 20 per kilo, farmers pointed out.

The government programme of purchasing paddy at the government registered price of Rs. 28 for a kilo of Nadu rice and Rs. 30 per a kilo of Samba rice is unseen anywhere in the district, farmers said.

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