Feb 13, Colombo: Minister of State for Development Banking and Loan Schemes Shehan Semasinghe says due to the government commencing the paddy purchasing program at the time of the Maha Season harvest, the private traders have little chance of exploiting farmers.
He pointed out that the government’s initiative to purchase paddy with moisture for the first time in history, has also helped the farmers.
The State Minister made this observation during a tour of the Paddy Store complex in Talawa yesterday (12) to inspect the government's paddy purchasing program.
The farmers have already started distributing their paddy to the government stores and by the end of this month a considerable harvest of paddy will be available to the government stores, the Minister said.
He said the government is committed to its objective of creating an agriculture based economy and expects to take all the possible measures.
Semasinghe said the farmers should not have any doubts about the government's paddy purchasing program and if there is any delay in the program, they should inform the authorities.
The Minister further stated that mobile vehicles are expected to be used for purchasing harvest in remote areas.
According to the President's Vision of Prosperity development program, the Government has already commenced purchasing paddy at a minimum price of Rs. 50 for one kilogram of paddy under the government’s program to purchase paddy during the Maha Season - 2019/2020.
For the first time in history, the paddy with a maximum moisture content 22% also will be purchased this year.
While in the past year, a kilogram of Nadu paddy has been purchased at Rs.38 and a kilogram of Samba at Rs. 41, this year all paddy varieties will be purchased at a higher price of Rs. 50 per kilogram.
Two types of paddy are purchased to facilitate the farmer to sell the harvest to the government.
Paddy with moisture content of 14% will be purchased through the Paddy Marketing Board at a price of Rs. 50 per kilogram.
The Government has taken measures to procure paddy with a higher moisture content for the first time through SMEs and Co-operative Societies by the Divisional Secretaries under the direction of District Secretaries.
Accordingly, measures have been taken to purchase paddy with a moisture content higher than 14% but less than 22% at a price of Rs. 45 per kilogram. In this process a kilogram of paddy with 14% moisture content is purchased at Rs. 50.
The government has also announced the maximum quantity of paddy purchased from the farmers according to the extent of cultivated land.
Accordingly, the government buys paddy stocks of up to 1000kg from farmers who have cultivated 1 acre, 3,000kg from 1 to 3 acres and 5,000kg from farmers who have cultivated from 1 to 5 acres.
The Treasury has already provided Rs.3.830 billion to the Paddy Marketing Board and District Secretaries for the initial step of implementing the paddy purchasing program.