Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera announced that starting tomorrow, the government will convert purchased paddy into rice and distribute it among low-income families. For this Maha season, the government has arranged to buy 61,300 metric tons of paddy from farmers, allocating Rs. 10 billion for the first phase.
District and divisional secretaries will handle paddy purchases instead of the Paddy Marketing Board, as decided by the Ministry of Finance. The government will provide 2.9 million low-income families with free rice, milled from the purchased paddy.
In January, the Cabinet approved President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to supply 10 kg of rice per month to two million low-income families, including Samurdhi beneficiaries, for two months. However, the number of families receiving the subsidy was later increased to 2.9 million.
Speaking at an event in Lunama, Hambantota, Minister Amaraweera revealed that 52% of families in the district have requested free rice. Despite significant development and paddy cultivation in the area, the minister emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of these families.
He also confirmed that low-income families in Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, Matara, and other districts will receive free rice as requested.