Jan 11, Colombo: The government’s program to purchase 300,000 metric tons of paddy harvest of the Maha Season through the Paddy Marketing Board will commence tomorrow (12).
Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage and State Minister of Paddy and Cereals, Organic Food, Vegetables, Fruits, Chilies, Onions and Potatoes, Seed Production and High Tech Agriculture, Shasheendra Rajapaksa will inaugurate the program in Ampara District tomorrow afternoon.
The launch of the new program is aimed at boosting the interest and enthusiasm of the officials in the state machinery and farmers involved.
The Paddy Marketing Board has taken steps to purchase 1000 kilos of paddy per hectare from every farmer who receives the fertilizer subsidy.
The program is implemented island wide under the direct supervision of the Assistant Commissioners of the Department of Agrarian Development and the Regional Managers of the Paddy Marketing Board.
All steps have been taken to purchase paddy from the farmers through the Agricultural Research Production Assistants working island wide. At the same time, the government has taken steps to hand over the paddy packages directly to farmers. It was decided to implement this program with the aim of defeating the rice and paddy mafia and maintaining a government reserve of 300,000 metric tons of paddy during the Maha season.
Harvesting of the Maha season has commenced in the Ampara and Moneragala districts and the government program in those districts will commence tomorrow. The first purchase is scheduled to take place at 3.30 pm tomorrow at the Paddy Marketing Board warehouse complex in Akkaraipattu, Ampara.
This year 2.8 million metric tons of paddy is expected during the Maha season and the government will purchase 300,000 metric tons with the primary objective of protecting both the farmer and the consumer. During the Maha season 668,400 hectares have been cultivated throughout the island.
Storage facilities have been set up island wide for the storage of purchased paddy. All warehouses are being modernized with the assistance of the Army. In addition, a program to purchase paddy through District Secretaries is being implemented.
Accordingly, the government is already prepared for a shortage of rice or a price control by the rice mafia. Steps have been taken to hand over the money usually received by the middlemen in the purchase of paddy to the Agricultural Research Production Assistants this time. The Paddy Marketing Board will be able to purchase paddy through other options only in areas where such officers are not available.
A special feature of this Maha season is the implementation of a paddy procurement process through a state machinery. The paddy harvest will be available islandwide from the beginning of next month and all arrangements have been made.