Cabinet approves Rs. 2.2 b for 25,000 MT rice stockpile

Wednesday, 30 September 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Funds to be made available as working capital by People’s Bank 
  • 48,000 hectares to be farmed using eco-friendly fertilizer during next Maha season 

In a bid to avoid seasonal price increases, Cabinet yesterday approved stockpiling 25,000 metric tons of rice and for the Treasury to release Rs. 2.24 billion to maintain the stock till January 2021. 

Cabinet co-spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters at the weekly Cabinet briefing that studies had shown rice prices had routinely increased from October and kept on climbing towards Christmas. Therefore the decision was taken to stockpile 25,000 metric tons of rice from October to January. 

“Cabinet approval was given for the issuance for a Letter of Credit from the Treasury making available working capital for Rs. 2.24 billion from People’s Bank to buy the necessary stocks. Lanka Sathosa will carry out the purchases once the funds are made available by the bank,” he said.    

Trade Ministry Secretary Badrani Jayawardena had earlier said that the Government was also mulling importing 100,000 metric tons of rice to reduce local prices.   

The Cabinet also approved the extension of a chemical free farming project that was started in February, which was given Rs. 250 million. Accordingly, given the earlier success of the project, it has been extended from 25,000 hectares to 48,000 hectares and will be farmed using eco-friendly fertilizer during the Maha season 2020/2021.