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Saturday, 16 July 2011






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Rice price on steady decline

Rice prices will decline further as the Paddy Marketting Board releases its rice paddy in buffer stocks, said Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute Deputy Director Research Dr Liyana Pathirana Rupasena.

He said the current downtrend in rice prices is mainly due to rice traders releasing their paddy stocks to the market in the wake of government releasing its buffer stocks too to the market and farmers releasing their seasonal paddy harvest collected between May and July.

He said: "Rice prices have plummeted due to the sharp increase in supplies, which is likely to continue throughout the year with surpluses of paddy to be had from farmers and warehouses and mills of the Paddy Marketing Board."

The major rice production areas, Polonnaruwa, Tissamaharama, Anuradhapura, Kekirawa and Eastern Provice districts, have already recorded ample supplies of stocks, he said.

The consumers can now purchase a kilo of Kakulu rice between Rs 50 and Rs 60, a kilo of Nadu between Rs 58 to Rs 65 and a kilo of Samba at Rs 65 and above, he said.

"The prices are expected to fall in the next few weeks with increased supplies to be had from production areas," he explained.

Asked if this could have any negative impact on paddy farmers, Dr Rupasena said the government has announced a guaranteed price for their rice.

The Paddy Marketing Board will purchase their paddy at the rate of Rs 30 per kilo of Samba, Rs 28 per kilo of Nadu.

Dr Rupasena also said the consumption of rice has increased in the country over the last five years from 1.9 million metrric tons to 2.2 million metric tons.

He said this is mainly due to the decision by the government to remove the subsidy for wheat flour amounting to Rs 3 billion, three years ago. The consumption of flour-based food, mainly bread , has diminished since the removal of the wheat flour subsidy, he said.

"The per capita consumption of flour has declined to 25 kilogrammes from 40 kilogrammes since 2009. The demand for rice-based products has also increased significantly due to high prices of wheat flour -based products," he explained.

"Now they are able to produce rice flour that is not coarse, with improved technologies. There is an increased demand for soft rice flour even among bakery owners," he said.


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