Sri Lanka state rice stock pile to be sold

Minister appoints Dr Swaminathan to IPACSL as Chairperson

Sept 17, 2009 (LBO) – A lower grade government rice stock pile in Sri Lanka would be sold at 33 rupees a kilo, a government minister said, at time when the island’s staple food is near last year’s ‘food crisis’ levels. “We have built up a 44,000 tonnes of buffer stocks, we are only selling 15,000 tonnes,” information minister Anura Yapa said.

Though the price of rice and other foods has fallen in steeply over the past year in many countries Sri Lanka’s rice prices are close to last year’s so-called ‘food crisis’ due to heavy government intervention in agriculture.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, Thai A-1 Super grade export prices was now 232 US dollars a tonne in July or about 37 rupees a kilo.

But in Sri Lanka the lower grade ‘Nadu’ rice is wholesaled around 54.54 rupees at the Marandagahamulla wholesale market according to official data, down from 57.08 rupees a year ago.

Better grades of rice such as ‘Samba’ are even more expensive. A cabinet note by agriculture minister Maithripala Sirisena said state-run Paddy Marketing Board has bought paddy bought at 28 rupees a kilo. It has spent 2.7