“This is the intricate dance of the rice industry. As the harvest unfolds, ships unload imported rice, manipulated by the notorious rice mafia that suppresses paddy prices, leaving farmers at the mercy of cunning tactics. The ‘Shakti’ rice program, a potent weapon against this exploitation, is making a comeback under our government, declares Dr. Harsha de Silva, aiming to break the vicious cycle.
Amidst harvesting nationwide, Ponni Samba graces our shores, imported by the Trade Minister, prevailing over the Agriculture Minister’s stance against rice imports. The ongoing battle unfolds with 50,000 metric tons of Ponni Samba now landed.
Alarming revelations from the Agriculture Minister expose the Paddy Marketing Board’s financial woes, missing funds, and failed purchases through district secretaries. A promised 4 billion rupees from the Ministry of Finance to the Farmer Trust Fund remains undelivered, urging the Agriculture Minister to affirm paddy purchases through the Paddy Marketing Board.
The colossal high-season paddy harvest, a staggering 20 lakh metric tons, exceeds the country’s yearly rice demand of 24 lakh metric tons. Recognizing the financial strain on citizens, the government anticipates a reduced consumption of 20 lakh metric tons this year, successfully obtaining the required rice from Mahakanna.
However, a looming crisis persists as rice mill owners manipulate prices, keeping rice rates high despite falling paddy prices. The ‘Shakti Sahal’ campaign emerges as the ultimate solution, reigniting the Shakti rice business to empower small and medium-scale rice millers, benefitting 10,000 farmers through 300 new rice mills. Despite a halt post-election, the government vows to resurrect the Shakti rice business, uniting farmers and millers in a cooperative system to ensure fair prices for both producers and consumers.”