The owner of the country’s largest rice mill, Dudley Sirisena, said all rice varieties would be offered at Government-approved controlled pricing.
Despite the fuel crisis and increased packaging costs, he said rice would be released at Government-set pricing, and urged other rice farmers to do the same.
He told the media that it is extremely difficult to release rice to the market at these government-controlled prices, especially since the price of diesel has increased by Rs 250 compared to three months ago and the packaging price has increased by 300 per cent due to a lack of raw materials.
“However, as a local entrepreneur, I decided to sell rice at government-controlled pricing, regardless of profit during this terrible time. I urge large-scale rice mill owners and businessmen to devote this time to the people who have been impacted,” he added.
He said, a kilo of Nadu rice will cost Rs 220, a kilo of Samba will cost Rs 230, and a kilo of Keeri samba will cost Rs 260.
The current rice reserves are only enough for three months, Sirisena warned.
He said rice prices have risen in the market, and that despite the price increases, there will be a rice shortage in the market due to a lack of rice stocks.
“I believe that now is the best time to carry out my responsibilities as the country’s leading rice producer. However, the current crisis has made it impossible to reduce the price of rice. We believe that the price of rice should be reduced because it is the country’s staple food. Hunger will be the country’s most serious problem,” he predicted.
Dudley said the farmers were the forerunners of the current struggle, and they warned that such a crisis would arise due to a lack of fertiliser.
“The island’s paddy production had reduced by half. Despite low-paddy production, paddy mill owners were able to purchase their rice stocks at reasonable prices. Farmers were paid twice as much as we were. As a result, the price of paddy has risen, raising the price of rice,” he said.