The crop fore­cast re­port of the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, re­veals that the rice pro­duc­tion in Maha 2016/17 and Yala 2017 would be enough for just 7.72 months. The cul­ti­va­tion of rice has also suf­fered from var­i­ous fac­tors in­clud­ing drought and floods.

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

amount of com­pen­sa­tion in the his­tory of the board was paid in the last Maha sea­son, to farm­ers badly af­fected by the drought. He said more than Rs 5.2 bil­lion was paid to 523,336 farm­ers cov­er­ing more than 352,903 hectares in nine prov­inces.

The largest amount was paid to 113,225 farm­ers in the Anu­rad­ha­pura District amount­ing to more than Rs 1.132 bil­lion, fol­lowed by Ku­rune­gala District, where Rs 1.045 bil­lion was paid to 104,594 farm­ers.

Mo­hammed Rizwan Hameem, chair­man of the Co- op­er­a­tive Whole­sale Es­tab­lish­ment, the only gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tion im­port­ing rice, said, in ad­di­tion to the first stock of 10,000 MT of white nadu im­ported from In­dia, an­other 70,000 MT of white nadu will also be im­ported this month. In the next few months, 100,000 MT of rice will be im­ported ev­ery month from In­dia, Pak­istan, and Myan­mar. Mr Hameem noted that by De­cem­ber 31, 500,000 MT of rice would have been im­ported.

“About 200,000 MT of white nadu and 100,000 MT each of samba, white raw and bro­ken rice will be im­ported,” he said.

Mean­while, the All- Is­land Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion, na­tional or­gan­iser, Na­mal Karunaratne, charged that in­com­pe­tent agri­cul­tural poli­cies had re­sulted in the de­cline in rice pro­duc­tion. He said gov­ern­ment poli­cies dis­cour­aged lo­cal farm­ers.

He said that the rice mafia is mainly con­trolled by politi­cians.

Mr Karunaratne also fears a se­vere a short­age of seed paddy, which will ad­versely af­fect the next Maha sea­son, as the gov­ern­ment lacked a mech­a­nism to buy stocks from farm­ers.

“The qual­ity of rice im­ported from other coun­tries is also lower com­pared with lo­cal va­ri­eties so they are in­ex­pen­sive,’’ he said. He added that some­times ven­dors mix lo­cal and im­ported rice va­ri­eties to make a quick buck.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Sri Lanka

© PressReader. All rights reserved.