Unlimited funds to buy stocks of paddy
The zonal officials of the Paddy Marketing Board and the
co-operatives have been instructed to buy as much paddy from farmers
this season, since unlimited funds are available, depending on the
purchase rate Anuradhapura District Secretary Mahinda Senevirate said.
He said that in the Mannar district, around 105,000 hectares of land
were cultivated with paddy and a harvest of 450,000 metric tons was
It is learnt that inadequate storage facilities have hampered the
government sector maha season paddy purchasing programme though
districts such as Anuradhapura, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mulaithivu, and
Kilinochchi come under the PMB's Anuradhapura zonal authority.
Reports indicate that sans sufficient and systematic warehouse
accommodation in Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu farmers were forced
to sell their paddy harvest at lower prices than the government
guaranteed price to private sector paddy purchasers.
It is also learnt that though a new paddy storage complex was
commissioned recently consisting of warehouse facilities for around
40,000 metric tons, the distance, heavy transport charges and above all
the tough marketing criteria of the PMB have added to paddy collection
In the Mannar district during the current maha season farmers
cultivated paddy in nearly 20,000 hectares after a pause of about two
decades due to LTTE terrorism and the war.
The Anuradhapura PMB Zonal Manager Bandula Kumara said that PMB aimed
to buy 30,000 metric tons of paddy from Anuradhapura district alone
during this maha season. He said further that the major difficulty being
confronted in the paddy purchasing mechanism of the PMB was the shortage
of storage facilities in Mannar, Mulaithivu and Kilinochchi for paddy
A survey done by the Daily News reveals that in view of the impending
new year festive season farmers are compelled to sell their paddy at Rs
18 to 22 per kilo to private dealers who buy the stuff without any
discrimination or grouping it.
Several farmer organization representatives pointed out to the Daily
News that they were at a disadvantage in selling paddy even at the
guaranteed prices of Rs 28 for nadu and Rs 32 for samba per kilogram due
to the increasing production cost. The marginal profit was not at all
sufficient for livelihood empowerment, was their grievance.
The special committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to
inquire in to the actual paddy processing cost, recently met farmers in
the Anuradhapura district and exchanged information and views.