Sri Lanka state says ready to buy paddy output

Feb 05, 2010 (LBO) - A Sri Lanka state agency is to be given money to buy 140,000 metric tonnes of paddy produced in the upcoming main cultivation season to maintain farm-gate prices, a government minister said.

Sri Lanka has high rice prices and from late December the government brought down high import tariffs to allow some imports to come in from other rice producing countries where the grain is cheaper.

The agriculture ministry has sought 4,060 million rupees for the Paddy Marketing Board, an agency coming under the ministry, to buy paddy during the upcoming 'Maha' main harvesting season, information minister Anura Yapa said.

A ministry note said harvests were expected in Kurunegala in the north central area and in the Eastern parts of the country.

At the moment 'Samba' grade paddy was being bought at prices around 42 to 44 rupees a kilo by millers.

'Nadu' grade paddy was going at around 36 to 38 rupees, a note submitted to the Cabinet of ministers said.

The agriculture ministry said 50,400 tonnes bought during the 'Maha' and 'Yala' minor cultivation season last year by the Paddy Marketing Board had been sold to millers and the money repaid to the government Treasury.

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