The total paddy harvest in the country during the last Maha season was 3.12 million metric tons, according to the Department of Agriculture. A spokesman for the department told Lankasara that although the amount of rice that can be produced from this paddy harvest is sufficient for consumption in the country for 10 months, however several large mill owners who are currently holding large quantities of the stock are controlling the price of rice in the country.
According to the Crop Forecasts of the Department of Agriculture, extent of 802494 hectares have been cultivated during the Maha season, which is 94 percent of the targeted extent. The yield is approximately 3.12 million metric tons, of which 1.97 million metric tons or nearly 2 million tons of rice have been be produced.
The average monthly rice consumption in Sri Lanka is estimated at 194,500 metric tons, which is enough to harvest the Maha season harvest from March to April, which will last until February, according to department sources. Meanwhile, the harvest of the Yala season is also cut, which is enough for another five months. According to these sources, large scale rice producers in the country are stockpiling rice and in this situation they are maintaining a monopoly on rice and exploiting the consumers.
The sources said that the government should take immediate action to control the situation as they had bought the harvest during the last Maha season at a higher price and in the future they would take steps to bring rice to the market at a higher price.