Premier responds to request to store paddy in Parliament

September, 3, 2015

UPFA Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa told Parliament this morning that utilizing the Mattala International Airport to store paddy is a crime and that if storage space in needed paddy could be stored in Parliament when it is not in session.

Responding to this statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he is prepared to grant a debate on the Mattala Airport in the near future.

While speaking in Parliament this morning (03 September) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that if there are timely rains there would always be a surplus of paddy in Sri Lanka and it is important to store them properly and release to the market on time.

He pointed out that a system should be created to release the paddy to the market without storing it for a long time and that this should be done while being reasonable to both the consumer and the traders.

The incumbent government is ready to prepare the necessary plans to develop Sri Lanka’s paddy cultivation and that it would set up a separate authority for this, added Ranil Wickremesinghe.

All these plans would take two to three years and currently the necessary steps are being taken by the Paddy Marketing Board, he added further.

Though paddy is purchased from the cultivators, Sri Lanka has still failed to setup a proper method to sell or export the purchased stocks.

While the government is able to purchase only a limited stock of the entire paddy harvest of the island, the major share is purchased by the private sector.

The major challenge before the incumbent government is to make the island self-sufficient in rice through the historic paddy cultivation and to take it further in exporting rice as well.