Certain groups are trying to create a scarcity for rice and increase its price and therefore a special meeting was held in the Ministry’s Office in order to find out an immediate solution to avert such conspiracy. Minister of Agriculture, Mahindananda Aluthgamage / State Minister, Sashindra Rajapaksha / Ministry Secretary, retired Major General Sumedha Pereira including officials from the Ministry / Chairman of Paddy Marketing Board / Chairman of National Fertilizer Secretariat / heads of the department of Agrarian Development and many government officers were invited for this meeting. ‘’His Excellency the President is in the decision that the fertilizer should not be imported, immediate action should be taken to produce required rice for people’s consumption and necessary work- plan for it should be practically implemented’’ Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the during the discussion at the meeting.
The Minister stated that the required amount of paddy for production of rice needed for consumption of the nation up to next February has already been produced in the previous cultivation season and certain groups are trying to create a scarcity for rice and increase its price in means of catching fish out of muddy water. Therefore, the Minister said during the discussion that as we are government officers should face this situation together in a practicable approach. The Minister further highlighted that 03 hundred thousands of Metric Tons of paddy has to be purchased through Paddy Marketing Board and all government institutions should act in coordination. During this discussion at the meeting, it was decided to get the required funds for reconstruction of stores facilities be allocated and be obtained the assistance of Army for reconstruction work of such facilities.
The Minister further highlighted that the efficiency of the public servants is necessary in making arrangements to produce more paddy than the actual consumption of the nation. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage emphasized the fact among the officials who were in the discussion that this target can be achieved through motivating the farmers to do cultivation in barren paddy lands considering it as an essential need of the nation. During the discussion, it was decided to implement a successful work-plan which can increase the paddy production by 25% than the present rate.
State Minister, Sashindra Rajapaksha who expressed his view here said that the excess paddy purchased by the Paddy Marketing Board could be produced as rice and provided to hospitals / Army / department of prisons, through a properly identified method exclusively for them. The State Minister instructed the relevant officials to act in a practical way not causing suffer to the farmers, by paying more attention on the transport facilities when the paddy is purchased.
In this special discussion, it was highlighted that a work-plan prepared in this regard can be provided within next week and performance should be carried out speedily in an efficient manner. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage further said that the farmers / the consumers are protected through the arrangements made to purchase the paddy from farmers, as free fertilizer distribution program is implemented by the government. The Minister, apart from this, highlighted that it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to provide the farmers with necessary seeds successfully in order to have good yields. ‘’Necessary facilities should be provided to the farmers, all activities like providing fertilizers / providing seeds / purchasing paddy through Paddy Marketing Board should be carried out in a proper coordination and the activity creating disturbs to the all parties such as farmers / consumers / government should be stopped by way of acting by every institution separately’’ the relevant government officials were requested during this discussion to do so.