A big rice scam involving Imported rice varieties being released to the market under well-known brand names after processing in rice mills has come to light, the President of the National Farmers collective, Anuradha Tennekoon, said.
In addition, imported paddy from Vietnam purchased at a low cost of Rs 25 to 30 a kg is freely available, bearing the same price tag as locally produced rice.
Tennekoon said this after presenting their three-tiered proposals to revive the economy and the country to the prelates of the Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters.
The rice production during the last season has dropped by 60%. At this rate, the next crop could be even lesser in volume and quantity than the previous crop since the farmers have not decided to cultivate, owing to the scarcity of paddy fertilizer. He said.
Although there were indications that 65,000 tons of fertilizer is readily available from India under an assistance programme, farmers are in the dark about when it will arrive. He added.
“When the people are asking for essentials, the government is giving them constitutional amendments and saying that the government must address the burning issues of the people on a priority basis.
He also urged people to launch a food drive to overcome the imminent food shortages in the future.