Govt. initiates scheme to facilitate small and medium rice millers
PADDY: A special program has been launched by the Ministry of Trade,
Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Marketing Development to undertake the
milling process of paddy which they purchase from farmers.
Secretary to the Ministry of Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and
Marketing Development R.M.K. Rathnayake told 'Daily News' that the
Ministry would import necessary machinery for the mill owners to upgrade
the paddy mills.
"At present we have imported different types of machinery from China
for testing purposes. Next month the ministry would place a large order
for suitable machines. Ministry also allocated nearly Rs 10 million to
purchase machinery," he said.
Each machine will cost around Rs. 32,000 - Rs. 35,000 and could
process 1/2 metric tonnes of paddy per day. Mill owners could purchase
these machinery through loan schemes, made available by state banks.
The Ministry will provide paddy for these mill owners. Facilities are
provided the sell such rice to co-operative stores.
"The objective of the program is to uplift the small and medium scale
mill owners in the country and develop rural areas as rice producing
villages, Rathnayake said.
Main problem the mill owners face is recurrent expenditures and
through this proposed program millers could minimise their costs," he
Organiser of Polonnaruwa Small and Medium Paddy Mill Owners' and
Paddy Stock Collectors' Association M. Veenadipathy said that due to
initiatives taken by the government there are many entrepreneurs who had
now restarted paddy mills in the district.
"There were 20,000 paddy mills in the districts but now there are
only 6,000. However this timely initiative would help to increase the
number of rice mills," he said.
"It is appreciated that many government institutes and state banks
have come forward to uplift mill owners in the country under various
programs. However there should be a proper mechanism for these small and
medium scale mill owners to be self sufficient," he said.
Assistant General Manager (North Central Region) People's Bank W.K
Ariyasena said bank had discussions with Small and Medium Paddy Mill
Owners in Polonnaruwa to relieve debt burdens of these mill owners.
Discussions are afoot to reown the properties acquired by the banks
for defaulting repayment, and also requests are being made to the bank
authorities to fix concessionary rates in the process since they are
unable to meet the full amount, he said.