Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has decided to submit a request to the Cabinet to temporarily suspend the importation of rice as there is currently enough rice in the country, a news release from the Ministry said yesterday.
Minister Amaraweera said that he will request the Cabinet to suspend the importing of rice to Sri Lanka until December. The Minister stated this in a discussion held with the Agricultural Seed and Planting Materials Association yesterday morning (01).
Paddy harvesting of the Yala season has started. According to the permission given by the government to import rice, the country has imported as much rice as it needs. Information has also been received that the importers of rice have stored sufficient stocks based on that permission.
At the time of paddy harvesting in the Yala season, by further importation of rice, some rice mill owners will buy the rice grown by the farmers so as to prevent the farmers from getting frustrated due to not getting a suitable price for the paddy they have grown in the midst of great difficulties.
The Minister mentioned that he will take steps to present a proposal to the Cabinet meeting yesterday to suspend the import of rice until next December.
The Minister also mentioned that it is suggested to the government to use the amount of foreign exchange remaining in our country by stopping the import of rice for the purchase of inputs for the development of agriculture such as weeder, seeders, sprayers and tractors, solar powered water motors, etc.
Minister Amaraweera requested seed importers to take steps to cultivate 60,000 hectares of maize in the coming Maha season. The Minister also said that the Agriculture Ministry will provide all the necessary facilities such as registration of all tractors in the island as agricultural inputs, provision of fuel quota, and land for maize cultivation.
Meanwhile, the representatives of the Agricultural Seed Association said that arrangements have already been made for the import of seeds needed for potato, chilli and vegetable cultivation, and that their association will mediate for the agricultural products needed by the country.
Secretary of the Ministry Rohana Pushpakumara and others participated in this discussion.