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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka re-imposes rice levy to support local farmers
Tue, Mar 23, 2010, 09:13 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 23, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has re-imposed the tax levied on rice imports to support the local paddy farmers, media reports said. Accordingly, a 20 rupee tax will be levied on imported rice.

The government has taken this measure to protect the local farmers with the onset of the paddy Maha Crop harvesting season.

The Finance Ministry said the government has taken steps to widen the paddy purchasing network by providing additional funds to the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) and all cooperatives to ensure that the local farmers will not have to face any difficulties in selling their paddy at the guaranteed price during the current harvesting season.

A total of 5 billion rupees had been allocated to purchase paddy during the current season. Three billion rupees has been released for the Paddy Marketing Board to provide funds to all cooperatives for the purchasing of paddy to be carried out under the supervision of District Secretaries.

Under the agricultural loans scheme, state banks have given 2 billion rupees to cooperatives to enable purchase of paddy at Rs.30 per kilogram of samba and Rs.28 per kilogram of nadu, the government announced.

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