National Programme of Paddy Purchasing: Agri Minister goes tough on farmers
By Eunice Ruth
Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday threatened to do away with the control price of paddy purchasing, if the farmers refuse to contribute to the Government’s National Programme of Paddy Purchasing.
He also said they will lose the fertiliser subsidy and the benefits from Agri Insurance granted by the Government in the next season,
Speaking at a Media briefing, yesterday (22), the Minister further said, “We have 1,041,923 farmers. However, among them, 266,291 farmers are cultivating more than one hectare of land and we will only purchase 10 per cent of the harvest. Farmers who are not contributing to the Government’s National Programme of Paddy Purchasing have to buy fertiliser at Rs 4,000 per 50 kg pack during the next season and they will not receive benefits of the Government’s Agri Insurance. The Government has a responsibility toward the consumer rights and we promise to provide rice for Rs 97 per kg, during the coming New Year season.”
He claimed that this year, the country will not face a shortage of rice, as the Government has planned to cultivate and harvest about 30 million metric tonnes of rice.
“The country needs only 25 million metric tonnes of rice annually. However, this year’s harvest has reached more than the expected amount and it shows that the country will never face a shortage in the near future. Our main objective is to protect and bring justice to both farmers and customers from rice mafias within the country,” he pointed out.
“The Government has decided to purchase a stock of paddy from the farmers under the National Paddy Purchasing Programme. For this, the Government has allocated Rs 23 billion to purchase paddy in the coming Maha Season, and it has been identified as the largest allocation so far. Also, we have renovated 323 warehouses with all the needed facilities for this programme with the help of the Army, which can store more than 325,000 metric tonnes of the harvest,” Aluthgamage said.
Meanwhile, he added that they have planned to stop the import of other vegetable and crop seeds which can be produced locally.