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"Rice! No More Rise"

“In order to stall any rice shortage in the market, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued instructions for importing 10,000 Metric tons of rice to the country, the Minister told a media briefing at the Agriculture Ministry yesterday. The Minister said the Government has given millions of rupees worth of subsidies on fertiliser and also free irrigation facilities to promote local paddy cultivation. This isbecause paddy has been identified as the favoured crop in the country.”
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(April 03, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said yesterday (02) that several companies have purchased over 40,000 metric tons of rice to produce animal feed and that this had contributed to the overall shortage of rice in the local market.

He added that the Government will not allow this practice to continue in the future, and assured the public that no room will be left for a rice shortage inthe local market during the forthcoming festive season.

In order to stall any rice shortage in the market, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued instructions for importing 10,000 Metric tons of rice to the country, the Minister told a media briefing at the Agriculture Ministry yesterday. The Minister said the Government has given millions of rupees worth of subsidies on fertiliser and also free irrigation facilities to promote local paddy cultivation. This isbecause paddy has been identified as the favoured crop in the country.

According to the Minister the purchase of rice by some animal feed companies has directly led to a rice shortage in the local market. Several companies have purchased over 40,000 Metric tons of rice to produce animal feed.

In the future, the Government will not allow any company to purchase rice for the production of animal feed, he said.

The Minister pointed out that at present, the entire world is facing afood crisis.

"The increase of the prices of maize used for animal feed and the production of ethanol has contributed to this situation and majority of the rice producing countries have stopped exports," he said.

The Minister observed that consumption of wheat flour products haddropped by as much as 50 per cent as a direct result of the Api WavamuRata Nagamu local food production drive launched by the Government.

This has also encouraged the people to consume more rice and grain.

Steps have also been taken to halt the reclamation of paddy lands andmake maximum use of the such lands for paddy cultivation, he added.

- Sri Lanka Guardian

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