A gazette notification was issued last week for the sale of all varieties of white raw rice (Sudu Kekulu) and steamed/boiled rice for Rs. 98.
The prevailing control price then was Rs. 85 per kilogram of White Samba, Rs. 80 per kilogram of White Nadu and Rs 74 for Red Nadu.
During the last 'Yala' and 'Maha' seasons, the Paddy Marketing Board had set a control price of Rs. 42 per kilogram of Samba rice and Rs 38 per kilogram of Nadu rice.
However, it is said that in both seasons private paddy mill owners purchased paddy from farmers at a price less than Rs. 35.
Generally, to produce a kilo of rice one and half kilograms of paddy is required and according to the price the cost had been Rs.63.
The cost of labor, electricity, storage, etc. to convert that paddy into rice is Rs 8 and accordingly the cost of producing one kilogram of rice is Rs 71.
Transporting the rice to Colombo will cost another Rs 2 and the cost is increased to a maximum of Rs 73 rupees.
Even with a net profit of Rs 5 for a whole seller and a profit of Rs 2 for a retail seller a kilogram of rice could be sold at Rs 80.
In addition, rice mill owners can also earn profit from selling rice products such as rice husk and rice husk powder.
However, it is reported that the rice mill owners are selling a kilogram of rice at Rs.94 which were purchased at a much lower price.
At present the rice monopoly in the country is maintained by four major mills in Polonnaruwa.
Sue if not sold at 98
Meanwhile, Dudley Sirisena, a leading rice producer and supplier in Sri Lanka, has told the media that the Consumer Affairs Authority can take legal action against traders who do not reduce prices in the next two to three days as the controlled price has come in to place to reduce the price of rice.
Source - Aruna