Sri Lanka lines up bank credit to buy up paddy harvest

Mar 04, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has lined up 28.5 billion rupees in credit mainly from state banks to buy up an estimated 4.5 million metric tonnes of paddy in an upcoming main harvest season, the state information office said. Rice farmers are among the special interest groups most favoured by the state. Sri Lanka also spends more than 25 billion rupees on fertilizer subsidies mainly to rice farmers.

Rice nationalists also blocked access to alternative carbohydrates with high import duties in a bid to force citizens to eat more rice.

State-run Bank of Ceylon will make available 15.0 billion rupees, People’s Bank 5.0 billion rupees and Regional Rural Development Banks to private enterprises as pledge loans to buy paddy.

State banks will also give 2.0 billion rupees to co-operative societies and 1.28 billion rupees to state-run Paddy Marketing Board to buy paddy.

District secretaries of key rice producing areas will also be given money, Polonnaruwa 250 million rupees, Anuradhapura 200 million, Amparai 200 million,. Kurunegala 100 million, Kilonocchi 70 million, Matale 50 million, Trincomalee 50 million, Moneragala 30 million, Mannar 30 million, Baticaloa 25 million and Hambantotal 10 million.

The state