By Aisha Edris
Contrary to claims made by Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister
Bandula Gunawardene, traders have disclosed that there is a
severe rice shortage in the market.
According to a Pettah trader, there has been a large reduction
in the number of rice lorries arriving in Pettah.
“Usually we get around 30 lorries transporting rice per day but
this week there were only a handful of lorries entering Pettah.
We are worried that there might be a huge shortage of rice in
the coming weeks,” he said.
He further noted that despite the Minister’s assurance, the mill
owners were yet to release rice.
“The Minister told us that the mill owners would send rice but
so far we have only received very few stocks from them. The
Minister informed us that the mill owners would send their
stocks tomorrow but we will have to wait and see,” he said.
The source also stated that farmers were not selling their
stocks, since they were hopeful that there would be a price
increase in the coming weeks.
He revealed that the mill owners were only sending white raw
rice. “The mill owners are reluctant to buy rice from farmers
after the government imposed the price control,” he said.
Meanwhile, All Ceylon Rice Mill Owners’ Association President
Dudley Sirisena said that the farmers were refusing to sell
their paddy stocks according to the government set price, which
“The farmers are refusing to sell their stocks of paddy at Rs.
22 and as a result there might be a shortage of rice in the
market,” he warned.