The Paddy Marketing Board is to deploy additional staff to paddy purchasing centers in order to expedite the process of purchasing and rectify the current situation. According to Paddy Marketing Board Chairman M.B Dissanayake officers of the Civil Defense Force as well, as Development Officers attached to District Secretariats will be deployed to paddy purchasing centers facing difficulties in making purchases due to the hundreds of farmers gathering at such centers especially in the Ampara, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts.
Farmers in these areas have been unable to sell their crops despite lining up for several days at these centers.
Additionally, according to the Chairman, mobile units have also been deployed to purchase crops from farmers located over 30 – 40 kilometers away from the paddy purchasing centers.
“The delay of accepting crops has occurred due to a number of reasons” he said adding that one such issue was that warehouses weren’t sufficiently emptied to accommodate the crops of the Yala season due to the massive paddy crop during the Maha season this year. He also complained that some farmers associations aren’t heeding instructions given by the board. “We have asked them to take turns and visit the center on designated days, but this is not happening” he said adding that this is due to an unfounded fear of not being able to sell their crops. “We will purchase their crops for another one month’s period, so there is no need for such fear” he said.
Currently the Paddy Marketing Board has purchased over 61,000 Metric Tons of rice while the government has made financial provisions to purchase a total of 120,000 Metric Tons during this Yala season. According to the Chairman of the board Rupees 2800 Million have been paid to farmers while no complaints have been received regarding delayed payments.
Speaking to The Nation on Friday, Matale District Secretary Neil De Alwis said the purchasing of rice by Paddy marketing Centers were being carried out well. “When checked at 10 A.M today, center officials reported that around 70-80 farmers had gathered with their crops” he said. Alwis also said that he was informed by the staff that purchasing of paddy from all farmers, who had arrived, would conclude by 4.00 P.M yesterday. According to him however problems tend to arise due to more and more farmers arriving with their crops thereby lengthening the queue.