Local News Update: Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has facilitated the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) to purchase over 3,268,600 kilos of paddy worth of over Rs. 163,430,000 during last two weeks.
SLA, under the directives of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has stepped into purchasing paddy to break the rice mafia in the trade to ensure a fair price for the farmers.
The PMB is now directly purchasing paddy from the farmers through the SLA facilitated program.
According to SLA Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, the program is coordinated through District Secretariats with the assistance of the Security Force Headquarters around the country.
The highest quantity of paddy 1,888,950 kilos has been purchased by the PMB from the Eastern Province with the help of the Security Forces Headquarters (SFHQ) East, 870,350 kilos of paddy from Vavuniya through SFHQ (Wanni) and the balance 509,350 kilos of paddy from other SFHQs areas including West, Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Mullaithivu.
Among the total paddy purchasing 1,196,950 kilos of ‘Keeri Samba’ and 1,436,000 kilos of ‘Sudu Nadu’ have recorded the highest quantity of paddy variety purchased by the PMD so far.
Army Commander Lt.Gen. Shavendra Silva has assigned Centre Commandant of the Army Service Corps Brig. Indhrajith Kandanarachchi to coordinate the program.
Military Spokesman Brig. Chandana Wickramasinghe told the defence.lk the SLA has improved 38 warehouses, which are belonging to the PMB and in were in dilapidated state.
PMB Director Operations Saman Palitha Bandara said the SLA’s involvement in the paddy purchasing had helped the farmers to get a fair price and also to promote correct post harvesting techniques as the SLA had made the farmers aware of the program.
“Last year, the farmers got Rs. 37 for a kilo of Nadu and Rs. 41 for a kilo of Samba, but under this program the farmers get Rs. 50 for a kilo of paddy giving them a fair price,” he said.
According to Bandara, the government’s target is to purchase 10% of the total production, which is amounted to 300,000 metric tonnes out of the total national production.